Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Same'ach b'Chelko, To Be Satisfied With What You Have

According to Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, a "very commons sense" book of philosophy, the truly rich is the one Same'ach b'Chelko, Satisfied With What He Has.

As the news is filled with stories of "the great scam," how people lost fortunes, larger than what most people earn in a year, all I can think of is the simple wisdom in Pirkei Avot.

Bernard Madoff preyed on the super wealthy, the middle class and all sorts of endowment funds, charities, pensions etc. Who else would have the masses of money adding up to tens of billions of dollars?

Here in Israel, we're hearing about the charity funds which are now empty, but in the states, and possibly immigrants living in Israel, ordinary people are discovering that they've lost their investments and won't be getting the interest they'd been living on.

Back to Pirkei Avot:
7. He would also say: One who increases flesh, increases worms; one who increases possessions, increases worry; one who increases wives, increases witchcraft; one who increases maidservants, increases promiscuity; one who increases man-servants, increases thievery; one who increases Torah, increases life; one who increases study, increases wisdom; one who increases counsel, increases understanding; one who increases charity, increases peace. One who acquires a good name, acquired it for himself; one who acquires the words of Torah, has acquired life in the World to Come.

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