Rabbi Elazar said … Know before whom you toil; and know that your employer can be relied upon to pay you the wage of your labor. (m.Avot 2:19)
Before Whom you Toil
Life can sometimes take its toll on human beings. We often get caught up in the rat race of trying to stay afloat and miss out on life itself. There are so many distractions throughout our day that it is easy to lose site of what’s important. Sometimes the tug of social media pulls us away from our responsibilities and stifles our productivity. These distractions can easily steal our time, leaving us to wonder “What happened to my day?”
But what if your employer—or your client, for those of us who are self-employed—were watching over your shoulder throughout your work day? Would these distractions be as tempting as when you were left unattended? This is how we need to understand our mishnah. Rabbi Elazar tells us that we need to recognize before whom we are laboring. Although we may not see Him with our physical eyes, we should always be attentive to the fact of His presence. This is not only true for our occupational responsibilities, but should also be true for when we study Torah and labor for the Kingdom. These should all be as free from distraction and as productive as possible since the King of Kings is before us overseeing our labors.