By Rabbi Nissan Telushkin
Rabbi Yisrael Lipkin, known as R’ Yisroel Salanter and father of the Musar movement, once asked a visitor, “Vos machst du?”— what is doing? – a colloquial expression inquiring into one’s welfare.
The person responded, “thank G-d, I’m healthy.”
R’ Yisroel repeated his question, and the guest answered, “thank G-d, I have a good livelihood.”
When R’ Yisroel asked a third time, the person asked, “Rabbi, I already told you that I am, thank G-d, healthy and have a livelihood.”
R’ Yisroel responded: What you have is not the result of what you do. It is what Hashem gave you. When I asked what’s doing, I meant: what are you doing for He who provided your health and wealth?