Minute #664: It’s Not Worth It

Life comprises an ongoing series of decisions. What to buy, where to go to school and where to live are just a few of the decisions with which humans must deal. To add to the confusion, modern merchandisers have made even the simplest choices more complicated by offering merchandise in a variety of colors, sizes and models. Today, even your favorite breakfast cereal and soft drinks are made in many varieties. The tempting packages all attempt to make the consumer choose a particular brand over its competitors. Decisions, decisions — life is a series of decisions.

Most people do not have unlimited resources and are thereby put in a position where they can purchase a limited number of the items they would like to buy. Value for the dollar becomes a primary consideration in buying decisions. The simple question is: “Is it worth it?”

In the world of spiritual “spending,” a person has to make many choices as well. So many opportunities to do good and so many pitfalls to avoid — how is one to decide? A good yardstick is to ask yourself: “Is it worth it?” The evil inclination offers up many opportunities to enjoy behavior which is not in keeping with the Torah’s precepts. Our Sages suggest that one should “calculate the cost of a mitzvah against its reward, and the reward of a sin against its cost” (Avot 2:1).

For example: If one speaks lashon hara, it’s possible to transgress 17 negative commandments and 14 positive commandments (Sefer Chofetz Chaim, preface). When one considers that, one must surely conclude, “It isn’t worth it!” So, too, with any transgression. It doesn’t pay!

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

Another name for Chevron is Kiryas Arba. It was named both for the four giants who once lived there and the four couples who are buried there. The physical enormity of the giants parallels the spiritual magnitude of the four couples….The two names, Chevron (joining) and Kiryas Arba, show us that even that which is most tied to this world has its source in Hashem’s Providence and can lead us to a connection with the higher world. (Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller, This Way Up, p. 65)