Dvar Torah Parshat Chaye-Sara 2015 5776 – Be Happy, Be Rich

Concerning the death of Avraham the Torah says he died at an old age: וְשָׂבֵעַ, “and content”. (Gen. 25,8) What does it mean by saying Avraham was content?

The Ramban gives a very enlightening explanation on this verse. He says that most people are not satisfied with what they have. He quotes the words of Kohelet: אֹהֵב כֶּסֶף לֹא יִשְׂבַּע כֶּסֶף, “he that has silver will not be satisfied with silver…”. (Kohelet 5,9) Or as the saying goes, “He who has one hundred, desires two hundred.” Avraham, on the other hand, was satisfied with what he had.

Ben Zoma tell us in the Mishnah: איזהו עשיר השמח בחלקו, “Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot”.(Avot 4,1)

Many Sages in the Talmud were very poor and yet they managed to continue with their studies and did not complain about their fate. They were happy with what they had.

This is an important message to teach us how a person should live. One should strive to do his best to earn whatever he wants. However, he must be satisfied with what he actually has. If he is not satisfied and does not appreciate what Hashem gives him, he will never be happy


One thought on “Dvar Torah Parshat Chaye-Sara 2015 5776 – Be Happy, Be Rich

  1. A

    Strong words.

    My personal take on this is that as the children of God, when we are blessed with goodness (things, money, happiness, family, good health) we must expressively appreciate them.

    We have to voice out our appreciation.

    When a father gives his child a gift and the child doesn’t express any appreciation, the dad isn’t as eager to get the child another gift next he’s in town.

    When a child shows deep and sincere appreciation for even the smallest of gifts, his father sees this and immediately wants to bestow even more gifts upon his kid.

    In a way, this turns into a powerful cycle: the kid is grateful for what he is given, and the father, then filled with joy of knowing this, gives his kid another present to as a token of his appreciation of that gratefulness.

    I feel like this cycle is also very important in marriage, and you can also see it at play at work, among friends and among ourselves (this is why celebrating “small wins” is so critical to people who want to get better at art, sports and at their professional life, and every business & leadership book emphasizes it).

    I think this idea also explains why people who are bitter and complain a lot, seem to be stuck in a loop of negativity, and literally draw bad things to themselves.

    I’m personally a person who is never fully satisfied with what he has and always wants more (and thank God i have so much to thank for in my life), but I try to express my appreciation as loud, as sincere and as often as I can.

    This isn’t easy, and takes a lot of practice, but it is extremely rewarding.

    PS – I just found this interesting piece of text here (https://www.facebook.com/avotp/posts/431295916977188), via Google:

    יהודי מלשון הודיה. ליעקב אבינו היה ארבע נשים. ברוח הקודש הם ידעו שיוולדו להם 12 בנים, לכן הנשים חשבו שלכל אחת יהיו 3 בנים. ללאה (אחת הנשים של יעקב) נולדו שלושה בנים, אך לאחר מכן נולד לה עוד בן. ומאחר שזה בן ש”לא הגיע לה” לפי החשבון הנ”ל, היא קראה לו יהודה מלשון הודיה לה’, שנתן לה בן מעבר למה שהגיע לה. אנחנו קרואים יהודים על שם אותו יהודה.

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