Rav Avigdor Miller on the Gezeira of Parnassa for the New Year

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Q:
If on Rosh Hashanah, Hakodosh Boruch Hu decrees the parnasa for the upcoming year for every person, why do I have to go out and work hard to make a living?


A:
If a person’s parnasa is decreed on Rosh Hashanah, then why does he have to go out and work? Let him lie in bed all day.

And the answer is as follows. This is how it is decreed. It’s decreed on Rosh Hashanah that if you’ll do this and this in the upcoming year, then you’ll get this and this. And if you do so and so, you’ll get so and so. That’s what’s decreed. And if you do something else, you’ll get this and this. We think it’s a simple thing. We think that a certain amount is inscribed and that’s all. No! Hakodosh Boruch Hu does things in a subtle way and it’s far beyond the ability of a human being to understand. Certainly it’s decreed. Certainly. But what is decreed? If it’s decreed that a person is going to have a full year of happiness for the upcoming year and then he decides to go and bang his head against a brick wall just for fun; he wants to bang his head three or four times against the wall. So what are you going to say? That since it was decreed that he’ll live happily this year, the brick wall will be as soft as mush? No. It’ll be as hard as brick.

So the decrees are decreed only under certain conditions. And if you go with those conditions, then that’s what you’re going to get. Exactly as Hakodosh Boruch Hu decreed. And if you choose a different path, then you will get exactly as He decreed under those conditions.

However, you must also know, that if a man tries to outdo what was decreed, then he’s going to be disappointed. And that’s because there are maximums that are decreed.
TAPE #138 (September 1976)