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Spirituality and Wealth

V'etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11 )

by Rabbi Ron Jawary

"You should love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, all your soul and all your me'odecha (wealth)" (Deut 6:6). One of the misconceptions people have about the Torah is that wealth and spirituality can't coexist. Yet, the Torah seems to teach us that not only can they coexist, but the more you have, the more you may be able to appreciate the beauty of the Divine.

When we say twice a day in the Shema that we should love the Almighty with all of our "me'odecha," the Talmud understands "me'odecha" as "wealth". Interestingly, the word "me'odecha" literally translates as "a lot." It seems to indicate that the more material wealth a person has, the more he may be able to fulfill the sublime mitzvah of being in love with God. We see the connection between spirituality and wealth in the appellation given to Rebbi Yehuda. The Talmud grants the title of "holy" only to Rebbi Yehuda, who wrote the Mishna and was one of the wealthiest people of his generation.

One of the reasons he was given this appellation could be because he was able to control his wealth and did not let his wealth control him. Consequentially, he was able to understand the true purpose of the blessings he had been granted. To the extent that we can appreciate all the gifts we've been given, make appropriate use of them, and not be overcome by them, we will be able to increase our love of the Divine and appreciate the Divine and our gift of life to the fullest. (Sponsored by the NYSE)

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