Minute 797: Not Wealthy

“I’m really impressed with the way you handle your financial situation,” Mr. Greenfeld said. “I would think that after all the years you’ve invested in the workplace, you’d have become dissatisfied with your lot.”

“I’m not only tolerating the situation, I’m actually happy with it,” Mr. Karp replied. “It’s a sure sign that Hashem loves me.”

“What does one thing have to do with the other? How does a lack of money prove that Hashem loves you? I would think that if He were happy with you, He’d bless you with wealth!” Mr. Greenfeld said.

“It’s an attitude one must learn, but our greatest thinkers confirm it. If I get a chance later, maybe we can have a cup of coffee and I’ll explain,” Mr. Karp said.

Shlomo Hamelech said, “Give me neither poverty nor wealth, just supply me with my daily bread” (Mishlei 30: 8). The reason, he states, is that he feared wealth would incite conceit and he would take personal credit for his success and deny that all he achieves is the result of Hashem’s involvement in his life. Anyone who excels risks the danger of becoming arrogant. The gaavah may result in feelings of independence which produce thoughts of “Who is Hashem?” To prevent such thoughts Shlomo, the wisest of all men, asked that Hashem limit his success to his daily needs.

Tanna D’vei Eliyahu says (Chapter 3): “A talmid chacham who learns a lot of Torah and doesn’t earn much money — it’s a good sign for him. And should you ask, ‘If Hashem loves his Torah learning, why doesn’t He bless him with wealth?’ it’s because Hashem fears that if He should give him wealth he may lose his success in learning. Thus, NOT being wealthy is actually a good sign.”

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

Complaining rarely sounds trite to the person indulging in it; in some ways it has become our favorite sport. We seem to be addicted to assuring any listener that things are hard… Our addiction to negativity must be examined. It colors our lives gray. Worst of all, it silences the inner voice that recognizes Hashem. Yet, it is a hard addiction to break. (Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller, This Way Up, p. 193)


 

Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He lectures to audiences all over the world. He has distributed over 500,000 recorded lessons free of charge. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement, Sephardic Press, 2008.