An Honest Days Work by Michael Winner/1/27/2022 Ah… finally! The downpour of rain that we have been waiting for!For the most part, this winter, like many before it, has been a disappointment so far. There has been rain, but really not so much. And here, you actually feel it. If we don't get good rains, the fruits and vegetables over the next year will be more expensive and of poorer quality. So now we're in the middle of a period where this is ongoing rain, with a few breaks here and there. It's cold, damp, wet, and our homes are made with stone, so … it's cold in the house as well. Ah! I LOVE it!!!Of course, this causes me great pain in another way. Has anybody here been to the Golan Heights in the winter/early spring? It's amazing. Everything is green! Perhaps in the coming weeks, when there is a break in rain, I'll rent a minivan from somebody locally and take the kids on a day trip. So many places to go here, so little time and money to do it.This week's parsha contains some of the most fundamental laws in the Torah: money and property matters. What's so amazing about it is, that for many people, religious and non-religious alike, these laws are often the most ignored or overlooked in our own day-to-day life.Many people will have no problem going to ask a rav a question about kashrus, Shabbos, davening, etc., but when it comes down to money/property matters, we tend not to think twice, and do what we feel is right. At most, if it's something that could result in heavy penalties, we'll consult a lawyer, but go to a rav? Only "frummies" do that.The fact that this parsha, which contains a whole slew of halachos, is placed right after the Ten Commandments of the previous parsha, tells us the importance of money/property matters.Several years ago, we learned around half of Baba Kamma (one of the tractates dealing with property and money matters). We did not learn the halachos that came out, but we did learn a little deeper than most do. While I cannot remember details on what I learned (they moved too fast for me), one of the things that I came out with that year was the idea of opening one's eyes to these concepts.In the religious communities in Israel, for example, it's common to hang papers on walls with announcements of deaths, community needs, etc. However, one needs to ask, did you have permission to use that wall? In Yerushaliyim, many tzaddaka boxes are welded onto the bus stops. Did you get permission to use those bus stops? When you accidentally break something at a shop, perhaps you're obligated to pay? When you build an extension on your house/apartment, are you even allowed to, if it bothers the neighbors? How much time are you allowed to take in your work to sit and send SMSs or make personal phone calls?All of these are examples without straight answers, and many times we don't think about them, because we "feel" we know what the answer is. But the Torah is telling us that these laws are no less important than that of Shabbos and kashrus, and one needs to be able to speak to a competent rav regarding such issues.A good friend of mine started with me in the kollel many years ago. For many years he worked as a local handyman, first part time, and then full time. And for the last two years, he worked in one of the schools as a government employee. As he was doing that, he took night courses and became a certified electrician. This past summer he was telling me that he really wanted to leave his job and go independent. He was not happy with the treatment he was getting and he saw that he was not going to be getting any raises any time soon. However, on the other hand, he had a steady income and who knows what will happen if he goes on his own. In the end, after seeking advice from his rav, he left his job and started working independently. Just last week he said to me, "Baruch Hashem! I have tons of work right now. I haven't even done any marketing. The only hishtadlus I've done has been being honest with the customer and making sure I do a good job." So, I turned to him and said, "So you're telling me that following halacha is a segulah (badly translated as: 'good luck charm') for good income?"When it comes to Shabbos and kashrus, it might not always be easy to hear the words, "it's forbidden," but we still follow it. Yet, when it comes down to money, it's much more difficult to do so, so we don't ask. But it's very important to learn the basics of the halachos of money and to always work in an honest and moral way, not according to society or our peers, but according to the Torah.With that, I wish you a wonderful Shabbos!