web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

If I Were A Rich Man

The-Shmuz

Place upon yourself a king…. He shall not greatly increase silver and gold for himself.Devarim 17:16-20

 

The Torah commands us to appoint a king to rule over the Jewish people. However, there are various warnings given to the king. He should not acquire too many horses, should not take too many wives, and should not amass too much gold and silver.

The Daas Zakeinim explains each of these excesses is singled out to protect the king from a particular danger. The danger of amassing too much wealth is that it leads to arrogance.

This Daas Zakeinim is difficult to understand because, as the Rambam explains, we are obligated to treat a king with great honor; it is vital for his effectiveness as a ruler. As a result, any individual, even the greatest talmid chacham or navi, who walks into the chambers of a king must bow down full face to the ground. No person is allowed to sit down in his presence.

Additionally, the king himself must guard his kavod. He isn’t allowed to stand up for any man in public. He isn’t allowed to use titles of honor for anyone else. If he commands a person to leave the room and that man refuses, the king has the right to have him killed.

At the same time, a king is expected to remain humble. The Torah isn’t afraid the great honor accorded to him will bring him to arrogance. He is capable of maintaining his sense of balance by understanding that honor isn’t due to himbut rather his position. He is still a mortal human. As a servant of Hashem, he plays his role as everyone else does.

The question then becomes obvious. If the king is capable of maintaining his humility despite the extraordinary honor accorded him, why is the Torah so fearful he will become arrogant if he amasses wealth? It’s as if the Torah is saying, “Honor he can handle, but wealth? Impossible!”

Why would it be so difficult for him not to be conceited if he acquired wealth? The answer to this question is based on a deeper understanding of the human personality.

The Antidote to Honor

Honor is a difficult life test. When a person is given status and accord, it is natural for him to feel different, apart and above the rest of the human race. Power, too, is a grave test. When a person feels he can control the destiny of other people, he runs the risk of feeling self-important, significant, and mighty. However, these are situations a person can deal with.

The antidote to honor is to remember where I came from and where I am going. I must understand that today I am being given great honor, but it will pass quickly. Today they sing my praises; tomorrow they will forget my name. That is the way of the world.

Power is also something a person can learn to deal with. As I stand here now, I control the destiny of others. But do I? Do I really have power? I can’t even control whether I will be alive tomorrow or not. When I lay my head on the pillow this evening, it is not in my control to will myself alive tomorrow. When my time is up, it’ll be over, and there is nothing I can do to change that. The big, powerful, mighty me can’t even control whether I exist or not.

In that sense, honor and power are potentially dangerous, but a person can be humble despite them.

The Danger of Wealth

Great wealth is different. Wealth brings a person to a much more dangerous sense of himself – a sense of independence. “I am rich! I don’t need anyone! I don’t need my wife. I don’t need my children. I don’t even need Hashem! I can buy and sell the whole world!”

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “If I Were A Rich Man”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
F-16 fighter jet.
ISIS ‘Prince’ of Iraq’s Anbar Province Killed
Latest Judaism Stories
Dante's Vision of Rachel and Leah

Yitzhak called you Esav and you answered him, then he called you Yaakov and you also answered him!”

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

The-Shmuz

What happened was that Frank Jr. stopped being the little babe looking with love into his father’s eyes, and the relationship took on a very different nature.

Is it possible a man could be standing in a burning building, knowing this life is in danger, and be too lazy to move?

Avram’s father was not impressed with the cleverness of his son. In fact, he was so unimpressed that he took him to Nimrod the king, who pronounced him an enemy of the state and attempted to execute him.

Strict din demands perfection. There is no room for shortcomings and no place for excuses; you are responsible.

I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.

When Hashem formed man, He gave him the keys to Creation. As the Midrash tells us, Hashem said to Adam, “This is your world now. You are in charge of it; take care that you don’t destroy it.”

Imagine a man who, after having a few too many drinks, gets into his car and begins driving. It takes a while before he is pulled over, but finally the police arrest him, and he stands trial for driving while intoxicated.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/if-i-were-a-rich-man/2014/08/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: