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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 21, 2008 / 23 Mar-Cheshvan 5769

Money matters ...

By Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz


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Or does it? Wise words to consider during trying times


“And Abraham weighed out to Ephron the silver ... four hundred shekels of silver ... .”

                        —   Genesis 23:16


After Sarah passed away, Abraham came to Ephron to purchase a burial plot. According to the Ramban (ibid., 23:9), Ephron quoted Abraham an exorbitant price, knowing that Abraham had no choice but to accept his terms.


The Ramban tells us that Abraham, with the "generosity of his heart," paid Ephron the entire sum. In what way was generosity involved? This was a business deal. Ephron was the only one who had what Abraham needed, and his price reflected that exclusivity. If Abraham wanted to bury Sarah in Ephron's field, he had no choice but to pay the price. Was Abraham really being generous?


Abraham's generosity was expressed in the manner in which he paid for this expensive purchase. He knew that the proper burial ground for Sarah was in the Cave of Machpelah, alongside Adam and Eve, and once he determined that this transaction was necessary, he did it wholeheartedly and joyously. The fact that Ephron was extorting an outlandish price and making an unreasonable profit did not affect Abraham's feelings.


Very often people determine that a certain purchase is proper, essential, and even profitable. Yet, because they cannot bear to part with their money, they choose to manage without it. Some times the price may be within reach, but they cannot bear the thought of someone else making a large profit from them. Abraham, however, was unaffected by this small-mindedness. He gave the money to Ephron with a full heart.


Abraham's actions shed light on the proper attitude we must have toward money. Perhaps if we have a clearer understanding of this outlook, it will help us through economically trying times. Money is a gift from the Divine to be used to fulfill His bidding ( mitzvos) ; therefore it cannot be frivolously spent nor should we withhold spending it when necessary.


The Chazon Ish (Rabbi Avrohom Yeshaya Karelitz, 1878-1953) once said that if we decide that it is necessary to buy an object, we should part with a million dollars as easily as with one dollar. Similarly, we should be as careful not to lose one dollar (which could later be used to perform a mitzvah) as we are careful not to lose many. We see this philosophy exemplified in the actions of the forefather Jacob.


In one instance, when Jacoby first met Rachel, he was absolutely penniless because he had voluntarily given away his every possession to Esau's son, Elifaz (Rashi, ibid., 29:11). On the other hand, he retraced his steps to retrieve inexpensive pottery vessels (Rashi, Genesis 32:25).


Our financial resources do not have intrinsic importance and our success in life is not to be measured by the amount we have accumulated in our bank accounts. The value of material wealth is in the deeds it enables us to perform, and it must be viewed in that context. If we lose the perspective that money is only a means to the greater end of serving the Divine and we fall in love with money for its own sake, we will drive ourselves into a life of misery and dissatisfaction.


We will never have enough, as our desires constantly outstrip our wealth. If, however, we stay objectively detached from money, we will remain a master over it and will not be enslaved by its entrapments. Our lives will be focused on the incomparable glory and beauty of the Divine's Word and our duties.

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One of America's senior Torah sages, the late Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz was the dean of the Rabbinical Seminary of America, in Queens, New York for more than 50 years. The institution has branches and affiliates all across North America and Israel.

This article was prepared by two of the sage's disciples, Rabbi Aryeh Striks and Rabbi Shimon Zehnwirth, and excerpted from the just released book, "Pinnacle of Creation: Torah insights into human nature".


Previously:

The Power of Spiritual Inertia
Our Immutable Noble Essence
The 'living dead' are all around us
We have the power to alter another's destiny — use it well
The Crowning Glory of Creation
The Divine's eternal, unconditional love
Perverting sincerity
Do 'clothes make the man'?
Divine vindictiveness?

© 2007, Mesorah Publications, Ltd.