One Universal Ethical Basis For Us All

בסיעתא דשמיא

The world's existence is preserved through 3 things;Torah study, Prayer & Kind Deeds. For society to flourish mankind as a whole must come to appreciate the importance of, Truth, Justice & Peace & conduct itself accordingly. Within the great Family of Man, each individual has his or her path within a path. Yet there is ONE Universal ethical basis for us all. Accept upon yourself the responsibility for peace & oneness in our world - world peace as a value goal. That will herald in a new era & a renewed world. A world of truth, wisdom, harmony & peace!

"If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it ."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

For Money We Lust - The World Economy & Financial Crisis

With all the discussion on the causes of the current financial crisis I can’t help but wonder if there aren’t additional reasons going on behind the scenes. Can you offer any insight into this aspect of the crisis?

Contrary to popular belief, I am not a prophet. Nor do I wish to be apocalyptic. However, God runs the world, and that things that happen are often directly related to what people do, there might be a connection between our attitude toward money and wealth and what’s happened with the world economy.

Of course, there are real, tangible reasons and explanations for what’s happened. And as you say, that’s what everyone is talking about. Also, in considering the possible spiritual reasons behind the scenes, the key is to view them as what you correctly label “additional” reasons (although they might still be primary). This means one should not be divorced from the reality of the situation, nor should one loose touch with the human element, and should have empathy for those who have lost.

That being said, the Torah position on money is that wealth is a gift from God independent of one’s effort or economic acumen. One person may be very original, astute and hard working and never amass much wealth, whereas another might not have much of these talents yet be very successful. Regardless, a person must view his financial success (or lack thereof) as coming from God. The corollary of this is that the wealth which one has must be used according to the will of the One who bestowed it. For this reason people are expected to be charitable, provide for the needy and in some cases give up to 20 percent of their net income to charity.

In our modern, materially oriented world, global obsession with wealth and financial success may have blinded mankind to the purpose of wealth, namely to be cognizant of God, express our gratitude to Him and to generously share wealth with the less fortunate. Not to proclaim, “By my strength and through the power of my own hands have I acquired all this”, but rather “To God is the glory, the grandeur, the success, and the splendor”. We must view the act of giving as a privilege, an honor and even as a gift itself – “the gift of giving”.

It is my (perhaps naïve) opinion that the early founders of America had all this in mind with the decision to inscribe “In God We Trust” on the money of the United States. The point is clear: Despite America’s wealth of natural resources and the resourcefulness of the early American spirit, it was stated unabashedly with the intention to inculcate to all – it is to God whom we pray and in God whom we place our trust for financial success.

Unfortunately, over time, in the United States and internationally, we have lost sight of this humble yet very powerful creed which has greatly been replaced with egotistical consumption, vice and greed. Perhaps the root of the crisis, then, is God’s repudiation of our trust in money rather than in Him. Perhaps in replacing the motto “In God We Trust” with “For Money We Lust”, by indulging in unnecessary luxuries while others lack the bare necessities, we have forfeited His blessing such that the money upon which we lean has started to crumble. Maybe we need to feel more acutely the precariousness of the needy, to give more to others and to put our mouths where our money is by sincerely proclaiming: In God We Trust! []