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The Time to Reinvest is Now

May 8, 2009 | by Lori Palatnik

Don't ask Mr. Soros or Mr. Buffett about when it is time to reinvest. Ask yourself.

George Soros and Warren Buffet are being asked, "In light of the drastic drop in the Dow, when is the time to reinvest?"

A few years ago, a friend of mine, a rabbi in Los Angeles, was learning Torah with a very wealthy man each week. The man was not particularly religious, but intellectually curious about his Jewish heritage. One week they met as usual, and the rabbi noticed the man seemed down. He asked if he was okay.

"Well rabbi," said the man. "This weekend I attended a party in the Mediterranean. We were flown, along with the other guests, by private jet to Athens, and then by helicopter to the hosts' yacht. All weekend long we dined on the finest meats, fresh seafood and wine. The service was impeccable, the luxury was beyond belief."

"It sounds incredible," said the rabbi. "So why are you so down?"

"I used to think I was wealthy. But now that I experienced this weekend, well, I now realize I'm really not so wealthy after all."

Ancient Talmudic wisdom asks: Who is rich?

The answer: He who takes pleasure in his portion.

All of us have been hit. Who can bear to open up the papers and see the graph lines heading down, down, down....? The operative word is "worry". What will be? Why did this happen? Why did it happen to me? And of course, when is it time to reinvest?

Last December I had the greatest experience of my life. I donated my kidney to a woman I had never met. The story of how it came about is too long to tell, [read A Kidney to Give for more details] but she turned out to be a woman in her late 40s with seven children. A few weeks ago, as I was preparing for Rosh Hashana, cooking for the many guest we were expecting, and trying to get in the right spiritual frame of mind. Soon after my cell phone rang, and I saw that it was the woman I had given my kidney to.

"Hi!" I said. "Shana tova -- a good and happy new year!"

"Lori," she replied. "I am calling to thank you for my life."

I began to cry.

Rabbi Noah Weinberg says: When you know what you'd be willing to die for, then you know what to live for.

Ask anyone, "Would you give your life for your company, or for your stock portfolio?" Of course not. "Would you give your life for your children? Your grandchildren?" Of course!

We wouldn't give our lives for our companies or our stocks, but it seems the bulk of our time, energy and resources are going to them. Yet the people we would give our lives for are seeing very little of us.

The recipient of my kidney told me that when her mother was on her deathbed, she said, "All the times I worried about money, what was it for...?"

Whoever is running this world, (and I don't mean whoever is occupying the White House) is trying to send a big fat message to us all. Don't ask Mr. Soros or Mr. Buffett about when it is time to reinvest. Ask yourself.

Ask, "What would I be willing to die for?"

Now go live for it. The time to reinvest is now.

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