Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Word of the Day: Parnassa

Parnassa (also written parnassah) means livelihood. It is your income and your ability to support yourself. Traditionally, it has meant your "living" in the sense of "making a living." I think the shift in people (primarily men) learning instead of being a breadwinner has shifted the "definition" to one focused more directly on the money a "living" is intended to provide. However, job ads or solicitations will often ask "are you looking for some parnassah?"

If you're looking for extra parnassah in your life, today is an auspicious day for you! This week's parsha,  Parashas Beshalach, includes the portion describing how the Jewish people received the manna from heaven for the first time. That maan, bread from heaven, was their livelihood, the Jewish people's ability to survive the desert. There is a custom to recite this chapter on the Tuesday of that parsha as a way of requesting your own increased livelihood. That day happens to be today. The publisher Artscroll emailed out a link to a PDF interlinear translation of this chapter if you would like to daven this passage in the Hebrew with the translation underneath. However, you can recite the passage just as effectively in any language. In fact, saying it in your native language is probably more effective for increasing your bitachon (trust in Hashem) that Hashem will provide you with what you need.

Supposedly, there is a lesser-followed custom that people in need of parnassa will recite this chapter every day (presumably until the parnassa comes along). A more common custom for daily (or as-needed) use is that there is an optional passage in the thrice-daily Amidah (Shemoneh Esrei) that you can daven. The passage should be off to the side or bottom of the page. Artscroll siddurim put it in a gray box like the holiday insertions. The prayer for livelihood is inserted in the section of the Amidah for the acceptance of our prayers. There will be a mark that will tell you where to insert the prayer at the bottom of the page. As with the chapter, you can say the prayer for livelihood in either Hebrew or your language of choice, even if you normally daven the rest of the Amidah in Hebrew.

"Cast your burden upon Hashem and He will support you."


  1. Thanks for the reminder.

    Or maybe not :(.

    Feel free to delete this, if you're uncomfortable with my post.

  2. Casting your self upon G-d might be OK. masbia lechol chai razon. However casting yourself on the community , not working and expecting others to support your tora learning, has a weak halachic basis. yes even frum jews are supposed to support themselves and their families.

  3. Thank you so much for this post! I just received yet another email saying that the job I applied for has been taken by someone else. I know HaShem will provide me my much needed job, so I will keep on applying till I get one. I NEED a job. I need one so I can move close to a Shul for an Orthodox Conversion! :) Sometimes, I think that HaShem has us wait and pray for things so that we know it all comes from Him and not by our own strength, lest we consider ourselves great, or even greater than He is.

  4. As a few Rabbonim of mine have said in the past concerning the recitation of Parshat haMan: "The pashtus is that it also requires hishtadlus" (Saying Parshat haMan is nice, but it wont do anything if you're not working too).