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Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Talmud's Secret of Wealth

Taanis 9

Do you want to be wealthy beyond your wildest dreams?  You can have everything you ever wished for and more by following this one simple formula for success!  Our secret has been embedded in the Talmud for over a millennium.  The rest of the world has only recently discovered it.

But you deserve to know – this is your heritage.  It’s not rocket science; it just takes following the magic formula wisely and without cutting corners.  You can do it!

How do you become rich?

The Torah states, “Tithe, you shall [surely] tithe.” Why the double expression?
Rabbi Yochanan would relate the word ‘tithe’ (aser) to the word ‘rich’ (ashir) and explain that the Torah is teaching that if you properly apportion tithes, you will become wealthy.

He once encountered his nephew, the son of Resh Lakish.
Rabbi Yochanan asked “What verse are you studying?”
The boy replied, “Tithe, you shall [surely] tithe.”  But what does that mean?
Rabbi Yochanan answered, “Tithe to become rich.”
The boy was incredulous. “Seriously?” he exclaimed.
“Go and try it,” responded the rabbi.
“What are you talking about?” said the boy, “You can’t test the Almighty!  The Torah states: Thou shalt not test Hashem!”
The rabbi replied, “Let me tell you what Rabbi Hoshiya would say: This is the only exception when we may in fact test G-d.”

What was his proof?  The prophet Malachi announced, “Bring all your tithes to the Temple storehouse, so that there may be food in My House.  You can test Me with this, says G-d.  Shall I not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out unlimited blessing?”  Rabbi Bar Chama adds: The meaning of ‘unlimited’ is that your lips will be so sore from saying ‘Enough already!’

When the boy heard this teaching, he was astounded and replied to his uncle, “Wow, had I reached that verse in Malachi, I wouldn’t have needed your help or Rabbi Hoshiya’s explanation!”

Tosfos tells the story of a wealthy individual whose field would produce a million dollars’ worth of produce each year.  The man would dutifully separate $100k as tithes every year throughout his life.

One day, he took ill.  He was lying on his deathbed and called over his son and said, “Son, you should know that this field that I am bequeathing to you produces a million bucks’ worth each and every year.  Make sure to separate $100k as I’ve always done.” And he died.

Sure enough, that year, the field made a million dollars and the young man tithed $100k.  The next year, however, the son looked at the books and realized how much money he had given away and decided not to give that year.

The following year was a disaster.  The field only made a hundred thousand!  The man was devastated.

Upon hearing of his loss and earlier decision not to tithe, his relatives came to visit him.  They were all dressed up for the occasion and beaming with joy.   
“Why are you so happy about my ruin?” the man asked.
“Actually, we’re upset that you’ve caused yourself all this damage.  Why didn’t you properly apportion the tithes?  Think about it: When you originally inherited the field, you were the landowner and G-d was the priest.  The tithes were His portion for distribution to the poor.  Now that you neglected to give Him His portion, G-d become the landowner and you are the priest since your field is no longer producing a million dollars’ worth.  Instead, He apportioned you the tithe of $100k!”

The Almighty wants you to prosper!  He wants you to be happy in this world!  Judaism has never looked askance upon material wealth.  As long as you give your tithes faithfully, you are doing what G-d wants and He will increase His blessing! 

You deserve to be rich beyond your wildest imagination.  Do your part for the Priest and He will do His part.   He wants you to be happy and He wants you to be successful.  Just follow the magic formula and He will do the rest!

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