Dear Rabbi and Susan,
I’m spearheading the most important fundraiser for my daughter’s school as I write. I’m an entrepreneur and a salesman, so I enjoy using my skills in order to assure that my daughter and her friends have a proper Jewish education. My question is as follows. While I hate rejection, losing a sale as much as the next guy, I enjoy the rush of closing a sale and seeing a business opportunity come to fruition. There is an enormous sense of gratification knowing that I’m helping my customer, society considers my contribution valuable, and I can take care of my family.
Your books were a breath of fresh air as they helped me understand the sacred work that I do as a salesman and entrepreneur and helped me pursue a much-needed experience of rewiring the way I thought of sales and business. Still, when I’m using my skills for fundraising, I also experience this deep sense of satisfaction. I know 5Fs are all about balance, but does God consider either pursuit to be more important, or are they simply 2 ways of taking care of God’s children?
Thank you for giving us the chance to expand on the relationship between volunteer work and paid work. As you note, our 5F program, which we explore in depth in our book The Holistic You: Integrating Your Family, Finances, Faith, Friendships, and Fitness as well as in our business books, stresses the importance of paid work, especially for men, while also noting the need for everyone to volunteer their time and money to causes that they support.
We would go further than saying that both types of work are ways of caring for God’s children. Developing your business obviously falls into the F of Finance. Your fundraising charitable activities fall into the F of Friendship. This is because the people with whom you interact during that fundraising project are neither Family, nor are they part of your Finance basket since you do not benefit directly financially as you would from business relationships.
Achieving in each of the 5 Fs advances the other four. Speaking specifically of the active involvement (as opposed to large donations) that describes your work for your daughter’s school, your ability to lead the campaign is based on skills you honed by building your business. Conversely, your business will benefit from contacts you make through your volunteer activities and the image you project – to others as well as to yourself – as a generous, honest, and thoughtful man.
You should feel a sense of fulfillment and achievement from being active in both arenas. As we attempt to make clear in our book, they do not detract from one another any more than having a family or valuing friendships or taking care of your health impedes your work life. Instead, they all contribute to a sense of completion that surely makes God smile.
Wishing you a successful fundraiser,
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin
This Ask the Rabbi is dedicated in memory of Noa Glazberg, age 43, who was murdered in her home on October 7, 2023.
And with prayers for the safe return of all the hostages and among them Yarden, 34, Shira, 32, Ariel, 4 and Kfir Bibas who just turned one in captivity. We highlighted them before, but it was just Kfir’s birthday and we wanted to note that. He was 9 months old the first time that we featured him.
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