Building A Peaceful Society On That Which Is REAL.
Isn't it strange how just because someone is wealthy there is a widespread perception that they are automatically imbued with all other attributes as well? Why would you logically assume that an entrepreneur or wheeler-dealer would have any innate appreciation for the arts or can be trusted to decide public policy? Not every money-manager is an intellectual giant. The acquisition of wealth demands a specific skill-set and this does not necessarily translate into other disciplines.
The Torah warns us against developing a skewed view of reality.
"Be careful not to forget God and fail to keep His commandments… You might eat and be satisfied, build good houses and live in them. As your herds and flocks increase, your silver and gold accumulate and everything you have grows, your heart may become arrogant and you might forget God" (Deuteronomy 8:11-13).
A chilling and timely lesson to all of us about the dangers of wealth and luxury, however encoded in the words we can read a message about how to relate to the wealth of others:
Just because a person has houses, gold and silver, don't automatically assume that everything he has also grows. Keep things in perspective; riches do not confer intellectual legitimacy. Scholars are our true aristocracy and the role of rich men is to support the study of Torah and to supplement the functioning of society.
Wealth can be a challenge for those blessed with it. Always remember who your true friends really are. Money comes and goes, but character lasts forever. If you forget this timely reminder you run the risk of arrogance and disgrace.
The challenge for the rest of society is to accept and honor a man proportional with his intrinsic worth, not his bank-balance. We must never forget that God is the one who rules the world and we are ultimately answerable to no one other than Him. [Elisha Greenbaum]
To know that this world is not some wild jungle where whoever is stronger or richer or smarter can abuse and destroy without regard for those beneath them - this is not a matter of religion or faith, particular to one people or group of believers. This is the underlying reality - that this world has a Master, and it is not any of us.
The Creator has also granted the human being freedom of choice, which means that every empowerment we are given carries a certain degree of risk. We can use our resources to accomplish our mission, or we can use them to sabotage it, and even sabotage the good that other souls are trying to achieve.
A peaceful society can only endure when it is built upon that which is real. [The Rebbe]