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Do You Need Money?

Thursday, 16 January, 2014 - 12:17 pm

 Image courtesy of Gualberto107 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Reb Shmuel Munkes, a Chassid of the Alter Rebbe, first Chabad Rebbe, once questioned an acquaintance regarding his downcast expression. The friend replied that he was experiencing financial difficulties. The Alter Rebbe’s son, Reb Dovber, then a child of about six years old, approached Reb Shmuel after hearing this exchange.

“Why ask the reason for his sadness? There is a verse (Psalms 115) which states the reason explicitly: ‘atzabeihem kesef v'zahav’.”

The child was making a clever pun. The literal translation of atzabeihem is "their idols", yet it can also be understood as "their sadness". Thus, the phrase would mean "their sadness is (caused by) silver and gold". 

Reb Dovber continued: "This leads to the continuation of the verse ‘they have eyes, but cannot see'; they do not appreciate how Divine Providence is manifest in their lives. 

We all have times that we serve money, making it into an idol. When we don't have it, we get depressed and when we have a lot of it, it makes us haughty. One needs money as it is essentially a means to an end. Yet it should primarily be used in a G-dly manner. This can be done via supporting your family and community, writing a Torah, building a Shul or giving to community causes. 

The Torah tells us that we must work; ‘six days a week you shall work’ (exodus 20:9). We work in order to have the money we need and to be able to serve our Creator. Following our work we are blessed by G-d, as the verse states, ‘it is the blessings of G-d that will bring riches’ (Proverbs10:22).

Hope to see you over Shabbos,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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