This week’s parsha of Ki Tisa is probably most known for the “Golden Calf”, the idol that the Israelites decided to worship when Moses did not show up when they expected him. We may think it is ridiculous that the Israelites of that day thought an idol should be made out of gold, but how many modern individuals worship making money? There is nothing inherently wrong with money unless an individual elevates it to the most important value in their life. Do we have our own “Golden Calf” today?
I have worked in the financial services world for over thirty years and have seen the effects of money on people and families. I have seen families torn apart by money issues and people commit terrible crimes just to obtain more of it. The worship of money, and all of things one can buy with it, is very powerful in our society. Money is good to have, but it needs to be balanced with all of our other values. There are values that are more important.
It is unfortunate when any person places money above their family, their faith or their people. If they do this, they are creating their own “Golden Calf.”
The Talmud says that when anyone reaches the World to Come, one of the first questions they will be asked is whether or not they conducted your business affairs (money) in a “fair manner.” It is not important whether one became rich or not, but how they used the money. Keeping money in perspective, but not an idol one is constantly trying to get more of, will lead to a more balanced life. There are wonderful opportunities for everyone to obtain the money they need to create a good life in our country. What we should not think, however, is that the pursuit of money alone is enough to fulfill that objective.
All the money in the world will not make you happy. Happiness is not about material wealth – it truly comes from within yourself. Invest money wisely, be responsible with it, respect it, but never think of it as the most important goal in your life.