Parsha Mitzvot: Shofetim: Mitzvah 510 – Concept 594
A dear friend has invited me to participate in a conference that is scheduled to end with the official ringing of the Nasdaq bell. I appreciate the invitation, and am honored to speak to such a gathering, but the bell-ringing doesn’t sit well with me.
“And he (the King) shall not greatly increase silver and gold for himself.” (Deuteronomy 17:17)
Great wealth poses danger even for the most righteous of kings, “so that his heart does not become haughty over his brethren, and not turn from the commandment right or left.” (Verse 20) Avarice, greed, arrogance and power bow before Mammon who distracts us from our spiritual mission.
I celebrate the power of capitalism to create wealth and opportunities. I fear the attraction of money.
I love being able to buy something I love. I am terrified of wanting more than I need.
I’ve watched generous people become stingy when they became wealthy. I’ve observed the drastic changes in their priorities. I have seen how their children became spoiled.
I have also met wealthy people who are generous, compassionate, simple, loving, with wonderful children, but I don’t know how I would react to great wealth.
Perhaps the fear before the fact will temper the temptations. I don’t know. I will not include great wealth in my Rosh Hashana prayers, just enough to pay my bills…well, with a little extra money for some more Sefarim, a second car, a few trips to Israel…no, make that a home in Israel, and…