Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Gateway to Happiness

At the beach in Tel Aviv.

Photo: Miriam Woelke


What I learnt is that having lots of money doesn't make one happy. Money is not the gateway to happiness but it does give you security. If you are looking for true happiness in life, concentrate on your health and on having great friends and a family.


  1. B'H

    Once a Rabbi said: "To feel rich and fortunate, see on one hand your position and on the other hand what you have but money cannot buy (friendship, family, health, etc), and you will notice that, after all, you are happy and fortunate and trully rich!"

  2. B"H

    The Rabbi was right !!!

    If you don't have money, its not always very pleasant but you get along. If you have money, suddenly you are forced to take care of so many things around such as finances at the bank etc. And it doesn't bring you happiness at all but only security.

  3. B'H

    As my Mashpia always says concerning money: "The more you have, the more you pay!" So Boruch Hashem that I'm not either rich nor poor, but that I just have what's needed for a living, for Torah observance and to give tzedakah. If you can pay your bill, your food, your drink, and buy what's needed in a religious life and to dress, and give tzedakah, that's the more important. The rest is "Hevel Havalim", because the more you have the more you pay, and the more you have the more you desire to have...more!

  4. B"H

    Sometimes its nice having some money as a reserve and you don't have to worry about how to pay a bill.:-)

  5. B"H

    Sometimes one would like to have the financial means to live comfortably.

    But then one needs to differentiate by what they need and what they would like to have.

  6. B"H

    This is very true !

    I somewhere read on a halachic site that we should thank G - d for the opportunity (when he provides something positive for us).

    Money may be gone after a while but, at least, be grateful for the opportunity you got in order to enjoy life.

  7. B'H

    Here is anither perspective from the Lubavitcher Rebbe:

    In 5718 (1958), the Rebbe ZT'L paid a visit to the Kopishnitzer Rebbe, Reb Avrohom Yehoshua Heschel ZT'L, to console him after the passing of his brother.

    During this meeting, the conversation turned to the topic of wealth versus poverty. The Kopishnitzer Rebbe said that in order to influence Torah scholars to settle in the holy city of Tzfas, funding is needed, and in order to enable this, Jews should be blessed with material prosperity.

    To this the Rebbe responded that Jews should prosper regardless, for prosperity enables one to fulfill the Talmudic statement that a beautiful home—which is meant literally—expands a person’s consciousness (Berachos 57b).

    The Kopishnitzer Rebbe seemed uncomfortable with this idea, and there ensued a very “refined” debate on the topic of the desirability of wealth. The Kopishnitzer mentioned a verse—“Give me neither poverty nor wealth” (Mishlei 30:8)—that appears to imply that wealth should not be desired, to which the Rebbe responded that that verse negates poverty just as strongly; in fact, it negates poverty first.

    The Kopishnitzer Rebbe then remarked that the Kotzker Rebbe, who was known as “The Saraph” (one of the categories of angels, i.e., he was very holy) was known to have lived in great poverty. The Rebbe responded that for angels such a way of living is appropriate, but Jews who live in a material world need prosperity, and even wealth!

    The Kopishnitzer Rebbe said: “Wealth is a test, and I am afraid of the test of wealth.”

    The Rebbe responded: “Poverty is also a test; on the contrary, the test of poverty, which causes exertion, suffering, and so on, is much worse and more difficult—so much so that our sages have listed poverty as one of the three things that “deprive a man of his senses and of a knowledge of his Creator” (Eruvin 41b)! Thus, the test of wealth is better!”

    After further explanation, the Rebbe concluded: “Hashem will surely help people to succeed in passing the test of wealth, for [it is written concerning the final redemption that Hashem] ‘[devises means that] he that is banished be not cast away from Him’ (II Shmuel 14:14). This refers to every single Jew, even the wealthy ones [that Hashem will help them overcome the test of wealth]!”

    The Kopishnitzer Rebbe then told several stories. Among them he related that Reb Dovid Moshe of Tchortkov used to walk with his head tilted downward, and once at the Purim meal, the jester remarked: “The Master of the World is not a robber, so why are you so afraid of him?”

    To this the Rebbe responded with a smile: “I feel compelled to say, borrowing the expression of that jester: ‘Why are you afraid to ask the Master of the World for wealth?’”

    The Kopishnitzer Rebbe responded: “I am already an old Jew, why do I need wealth?! It is better that I request that Moshiach come.”

    The Rebbe countered: “What is the contradiction—ask [Hashem] for both things!” The Rebbe concluded: “In any case, I would like you to agree that Jews should have wealth.”

    The Kopishnitzer Rebbe responded: “I agree wholeheartedly.”

    You can read a short compte-rendu of that meeting here: http://www.chabadlibrary.org/books/admur/tm/23/19/index.htm