This Erev Shavuot I’m reminded of the following story and discussion I recently had with my students at Jewish Money Makeover.
A story is told of a wealthy man who left an estate of close to $1 billion dollars. He also left two wills for his children. One will was to be opened upon his passing. The second will was to be opened 30 days after his passing at the shloshim.
The children opened the first will. In it, the father requested that the children head to a certain drawer in his bedroom, grab a particular pair of socks and bury him wearing those socks.
They did as their father requested and immediately headed over to the Chevra Kadisha, the burial society. During his lifetime, the man had been a generous supporter of the Chevra Kadisha. They would surely comply with their beloved benefactor’s request, the children thought.
But, upon presenting the burial society with the socks and the request, the kind-hearted men explained to the children that they couldn’t do it. According to Jewish law, the only way to bury a body is with tachrichim, burial shrouds, and nothing else should be on the deceased’s body.
“We’re sorry,” they said. “Your father was a very pious and devout Jew. Right now, his soul knows what is best for him. So, go in peace, for he is OK with you not fulfilling the wishes that he expressed while his soul was trapped in the body and shackled by physical existence.”
The children were somewhat comforted. Their father had indeed been a very devout, observant Jew. He surely would want them to follow G-d’s will. The wealthy man was buried without socks.
Thirty days passed. The shloshim arrived, and the children opened the second will.
It read as follows:
By now you’ve certainly realized that you can’t take anything with you; not even a pair of socks. Therefore, no matter how much wealth you have, be wise and make sure to use it for that which is of value and eternal, a life of Torah and mitzvot, goodness and kindness.
“What do I value?” is a question I think about often and I encourage many to do the same. Additionally, “Am I living in alignment with those values?” “Does the way I allocate my time and money reflect those values?” Whether we like it on not, “financial statements are values statements.”
This is one of the many deep conversations I had with my students during our four weeks inside the Jewish Money Makeover. It’s not an easy conversation, but an important one.
However, I think this pandemic has made it easier for us to get to the core of what our values are. The truth of what’s really important and valuable in life has been exposed. Hence, we can make wiser choices with our time and money.
In fact, we’ve seen that what the Torah has always told us is truly important: family life, relationships, self-growth, education, community, health – physical health, mental and spiritual health – are paramount.
Moreover, Torah ultimately is a value’s system – a blueprint for life.
This Shavuot, will be so much more than about cheesecake. We will receive the Torah either in quarantine, or transitioning back into post-quarantine life.
Thus, I pray that precisely this year we’ll be able to say with complete honesty, “I put my money (and time) where my values are. And, those values are not the values of the world of Instagram or Facebook, my friends or my neighbors. I’m living in line with the eternal values of the blueprint that was given to me as a Jewish woman – the Torah.”
May you all be blessed with a Kabbalat HaTorah B’Simcha U B’Penimiut – to joyfully internalize the Torah anew.
Finally, my students enjoyed Jewish Money Makeover so much that I opened up a Level 2! If you think you might be interested in learning with me how to transform your financial life, click HERE to add yourself to the waiting list. When I launch again I will open the course first to the women on the waiting list first. 😎