Elul 12, 5779
September 12, 2019
Greed is the never-ending desire to accumulate more money or material possessions. It is a constant grasping for more. Ultimately, greed is futile because it is a goal with no end. And yet, many of us allow greed to take hold of us.
From our Sources
One who loves money will never be satisfied with money.
A baby enters the world with hands clenched, as if to say, “The world is mine; I shall grab it.” A person leaves with hands open, as if to say, “I can take nothing with me.”
Rabbi Steven Leder, in his book More Money than God, talks about “extra-material affairs,” when we let money distract us from more important matters, like our relationships and our deeply held values. Such affairs often go beyond what we can afford, along the lines of another saying attributed to Solomon, “Stolen waters are sweet” (Prov. 9:17)…. Leder [also] talks about our overspending as an addiction. When we have a bad day, we shop. When we have a good day, we shop, or we use the ultimate excuse, “It was on sale.” That’s when people really grab. Consuming makes us happy until the bill comes. The problem with debt is that it allows money to have power over us because, as the Bible says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrowed becomes the lender’s slave” (Prov. 22:7).
When might it be important to “grab” at material opportunities? When is important to let go?
The quote from Ecclesiastes Rabbah seems to imply that our propensity toward greediness eases as we age? Is this true for you?
Do you feel that money has distracted you from your relationships or values this past year? If so, how?
What might you do in the coming year to change this pattern?