A good business is built and grows on three foundations, alluded to in the expression from Proverbs (8:22), “[God created me at the beginning of His course,] the first of His works of old” (קֶדֶם מִפְעָלָיו מֵאָז). We can understand the Hebrew word for “of old” (מֵאָז) as an acronym for: Involvement-Quality-Flow (מְעֹרָבוּת אֵיכוּת זְרִימָה). In short, Involvement refers to proper management by which the director is involved and knows every detail, but at the same time does not interfere and disrupt the steady workflow. Quality refers to having a high-quality product, with excellent customer service. Flow relates to the correct management of cash flow, dependent upon a good connection with the banks and financers, in order to foster the business’s proper development.
While flow and involvement are part of the management of the workplace, quality relates to the product, itself. Thus, we can depict flow and involvement as the father and mother who give birth to the product:
The father in Kabbalah is associated with wisdom. About the wise it is said that they are able to see what is materializing. Thus, wisdom is the faculty that anticipates future developments and properly manages the cash flow. Careful not to fall into debt, fatherly wisdom earns trust and builds good connections with his investors and financers.
Good, involved management is the motherly talent associated in Kabbalah with understanding. A good mother knows where each of her children are and what they are doing at all times. Nonetheless, she gives each child the space that he or she needs to develop independently in their own way and rejoices in their growth and success.
Together, these two parental talents, wisdom and understanding, give birth to the quality product. The fatherly trustworthiness and honest business practice is expressed in customer service that stands behind the product and constantly improves its reliability. The expectations of the involved mother – who appreciates the special qualities of every employee and gives each of them their place – is ultimately expressed in the quality of the product itself, in which the unique excellence of the business-family is expressed.
In Kabalistic terms, the father and mother’s eldest son is our faculty of knowledge. Every Jew should fulfill the directive to (Proverbs 3:6), “know Him in all your ways” (Bechol derachecha da’eihu; בְּכָל דְּרָכֶיךָ דָעֵהוּ) regarding his business as well, and view his business as a type of mission. Knowledge (or, da’at in Hebrew), as the product-child, has both the power to connect to others and the power of awareness, (called muda’ut, in modern Hebrew). These two powers of da’at are known in Kabbalah as the attributes of loving-kindness and the attributes of might in da’at, which are sustained by the father and mother, respectively.
When we see our business as a place where souls can meet, our customer service follows suit. We want to meet the customer, the service is top-notch and creates potent connections in the entire world.
A God-fearing Jew is aware of an additional, deep dimension in a business: the opportunity to sanctify God’s Name. Taking care not to desecrate God’s Name dictates extreme attention to honesty. The desire to sanctify God’s name motivates the business owner to create the highest-quality product or service possible.
It is no coincidence that Jews are often the entrepreneurs, the inventors and the merchants who move the world economy. They see this as part of their mission on earth: to make God known in the world by highlighting the refined nature of His children-servants, His Nation, Israel (in terms that the world can understand).
Ultimately, the merchant gathers holy sparks from the entire world, and by sanctifying God’s Name, brings the nations of the world to appreciate the Jewish people (even awakening potential converts). Moses depicted this talent in his blessing to Zebulun, the merchant tribe, who through their export-import business, “invite nations to the mountain [the Temple Mount] where they shall offer pious sacrifices” (Deuteronomy 33:19).
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