A Big Nisayon of Working
As a followup to R' Breitowitz's article about working vs kollel I would like to bring up a related issue.
For those of us who work and are relatively successful, to what do we attribute our success? American culture tells us we should attribute it to our hard work, intelligence, etc., in other words כחי ועוצם ידי. Judaism on the other hand, states that הכל בידי שמים חוץ מיראת שמים. Everything is from Hashem. If we are successful at work it is from Hashem. If we make a lot of money it is from Hashem. The gemara in Rosh Hashana states מזונות של אדם קצובין לו בראש השנה. How many of us really believe this?
For me at least, this is one of the biggest nisyonos (tests) of working. It is so easy to believe that your success comes from you and your money comes from you when you work and you are good at what you do. When you work hard on a project and at the end you get a bonus, you feel that you "earned" the money, and yet, it was already allocated to you from Rosh Hashana. It is very difficult to keep the proper perspective of where everything comes from when you earn a good living working. We are so far removed from Hashem in our parnasa these days, it really feels like it is in our hands.
This is not a reason not to work, rather it is something that those who work should think about and work on. If someone works and can come to this recognition they have indeed reached a high madrega.