In an attempt to cause his brothers to return to Egypt, Yosef returned their money to them and placed it in their sacks. This seems unnecessary. Would they not have returned simply due to the famine in the land? Also, Shimon was still incarcerated in Egypt. They had to come back to redeem him! The Brisker Rav z.l. gives a simple, but striking, response. The ten brothers were Shivtei Kah, the forebears of the ten tribes of Klal Yisrael. They constituted the standard for our nation. We have no idea of the level of bitachon, trust in Hashem, which they exemplified. Yosef might have thought they would decide to remain home, trusting in Hashem’s “ability” to sustain them throughout this trying time. Hashem would not forsake their brother Shimon, and he would eventually be released from prison. Yosef knew, however, that these honorable men would never keep in their possession money which was not rightfully theirs. They would be willing to starve, even remain in the dungeons of Egypt, but never would they keep money which, according to the dictates of halacha, did not belong to them! This level of integrity is the hallmark of a Jew and should be reflected in our total demeanor.
Indeed, on that day when we face Hashem and the Heavenly Tribunal, the first question we will be asked is — vbuntc ,,bu ,tab, “Did you conduct your business dealings in emunah?” Horav Shimon Schwab, z.l., suggests that “emunah” in this instance has two meanings. First, did you deal honestly with others? Second, when you engaged in business, did you possess emunah, trust in Hashem? Did you believe that Hashem provides for all, that Providence rules and determines your success in every venture? Were you aware that there is Someone watching over you, observing every move you make, listening to every word you say, recording for future reference every incident, regardless of its seemingly trivial nature? Horav Schwab asserts that we should strive to respond yes to every question. On that day we will be confident that we enjoy a parnassah, livelihood, free from any taints of cheating, larceny, swindling or duplicity, and we will not be indolent in our efforts to make a decent living. Then we will have the right to have bitachon, faith that Hashem will provide for us. Our successes come from Hashem. We cannot take credit for our ingenuity or intelligence. It is all due to Hashem’s beneficence. Failure should be met with emunah, trust in the Almighty, that it will only be a temporary difficulty. Through prayer and faith, we will ultimately be blessed by the Source of all blessing.