Photo Credit: Jewish Press
Rochelle Brand

Money, money, money it’s a rich man’s world”; “Can’t Buy Me Love”; “If I were a rich man.” Sound familiar? Benjamin Franklin, ironically found on a hundred-dollar bill, wrote, “Money can’t buy happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.”

The most profound words were written by the wisest and richest of all men – King Solomon. In an enigmatic statement in Kohelet he summed it up: “Kesef ya’aneh et ha’kol – Money answers all things.” Ya’aneh can also mean “tortures.” Money can be a source of pain and hurt, or joy and comfort. It depends on what we use our money for. Hashem shows Moshe an image of a fiery coin to be given as the half-shekel with the same message: Fire is a source of warmth or comfort – or it can be destructive. So too money.

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Our approach to money should be understanding that our financial status is determined by G-d. We do our hishtadlus. We have to work, spend wisely, give tzedaka and save, but ultimately what we have at the end is up to Hashem. Nevertheless, I think we can agree that “rich or poor, it is nice to have money.”

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With many years of teaching and administrative experience both in the U.S. and in Israel, yeshivot and public school, Dr. Rochelle Brand (Shelly) now serves as Head of School at SBTAG in South Florida. Dr. Brand received her doctorate in Educational Administration from YU’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration. Her dissertation explored gender differences in spirituality.