While Klal Yisrael were then living in the ultimate kollel community, money still had value to them – not in what it could buy, but in its more alluring sense, in the associated feeling of power and importance that it brought. They were now rich people, and that sense is so dangerous it can destroy even the greatest of men. For that reason, Moshe said to Hashem, “You caused this. The gold and the silver that You gave them brought them to sin.”
Living in Our Age
This concept has particular relevance in our day and age. Never in the history of mankind have so many enjoyed such wealth. On some level, each of us has the opportunity of one day being rich.
As with many life situations, prosperity can be either a blessing or a curse. If a person changes because he is now a rich man, he needs more, he feels that he deserves only the best, and he won’t be satisfied with what everyone else gets by with. That sense of superiority will turn him against his Creator, and the very wealth he acquired will be the source of his ruin. For eternity, he will regret having been given that test – which he failed.
However, if a person remains aware that he was granted wealth for a purpose – that he is not the owner of it, but rather its custodian, duly charged with its proper use – then he can use it as a tool to help him accomplish his purpose in existence. His wealth will then be a true blessing he enjoys in this world – and for eternity he will enjoy that which he accomplished with it.