Do What You Must by Michael Winner/12/14/2023 There are a few bastions of evil within the Israeli government. One of them is the National Insurance Agency. In order to gain a position of employment there, you must be 100% pure evil. Those who are 90% evil are sent to work at the Tax Authority.Having said that, when one works as an independent contractor or as a paid employee, part of your salary is taken out and saved. When you have a baby, you then have paid maternity leave, based on how much your salary was over the past several months.Now my wife has been working for a company as an independent contractor for a while, paying her taxes, and then last January, she switched and became a paid employee. After the baby was born, instead of receiving her maternity leave payment, she received a letter stating that she cannot have it, because they are "suspicious" of her doing something not so kosher (of course they never specified what). However, if we want to fight it, we need to go through a whole slew of steps, including detailed reports, such as how many hours she worked each day for the past three months, proof that she received payment from the company, proof from the company that they paid her, a copy of her diploma, copies of her work, a list of people who know her that can testify that she works along with how many years they have been living where they are living, etc. REALLY not pleasant work to do right after giving birth. But, if you don't do it, you miss out on a lot of money that you have a legal (and moral) right to receive.So, she began her ordeal and instead of recuperating, she was sitting and doing tons of paperwork, and attempting to make sure her work does theirs. After sending in only a fraction of her proof, and working on the rest, she finally received a letter that she will receive her money.Great!Last night, after I lit the menorah, I saw that one of the candles was a bit weak and I was worried that it might go out. Thankfully, I remembered my learning. If you light, for example, one candle for Chanukkah, and it goes out before the minimal thirty minutes that it needs to be lit for, you are fine … as long as you put in enough oil to last the entire thirty minutes. However, if you do not put in enough oil, even if it goes out for another reason, you need to relight.What's the connection between these two stories?We often think that our hishtadlus, our effort, has a direct effect on whether we are successful or not. It's not true. One of the rules of this world is that we do our full hishtadlus, no matter what we are doing. What happens after that is Hashem's business, not ours. Will we be successful or will we not, is up to Hashem. However, if we don't do our full hishtadlus, then we have only ourselves to blame.That is what we see in this halacha. If we put in the proper amount of oil, then we did the mitzvah, even if the lighting barely lasted. However, if we didn't, we need to relight with the proper amount. Same with my wife. She had to do her hishtadlus. She did her full hishtadlus and Hashem said, "Okay, enough, I'll take care of the rest," even when according to the National Insurance Agency, she didn't finish her full amount of torture.This is our path in life, regarding anything we need to do. First, we determine how much hishtadlus we need to be successful in the endeavor we are undertaking. After that, we begin to do it. If we are successful in that hishtadlus, or things interrupt it, we can say, "Okay, I did my part," and Hashem will then determine whether it is best for you to be successful or not.With this mindset, we can calm some of our nerves down and build our trust in Hashem.Have a wonderful Chanukkah and Shabbos!