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Money, Money, Money! – On Second Thought

On Second Thought: Delving Into the Sugya with Rabbanit Yafit Clymer


Bava Metzia 42

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בבא מציעא דף מב

וְאָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק: לְעוֹלָם יְהֵא כַּסְפּוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם מָצוּי בְּיָדוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וְצַרְתָּ הַכֶּסֶף בְּיָדְךָ״. וְאָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק: לְעוֹלָם יַשְׁלִישׁ אָדָם אֶת מְעוֹתָיו, שְׁלִישׁ בְּקַרְקַע, וּשְׁלִישׁ בִּפְרַקְמַטְיָא, וּשְׁלִישׁ תַּחַת יָדוֹ. 


Rabbi Yitzak says: A person’s money should always be found in his possession. He should not invest all of his money, leaving him with no money available for expenditures, as it is stated: “And you shall bind up the money in your hand.” And Rabbi Yitzak says: A person should always divide his money into three; he should bury one-third in the ground, and invest one-third in business [bifrakmatya], and keep one-third in his possession.


משנה אבות ב׳:ז׳

(ז) הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר: מַרְבֶּה נְכָסִים, מַרְבֶּה דְאָגָה

The more possessions, the more worry. 


קהלת י יט

לִשְׂחוֹק֙ עֹשִׂ֣ים לֶ֔חֶם וְיַ֖יִן יְשַׂמַּ֣ח חַיִּ֑ים וְהַכֶּ֖סֶף יַעֲנֶ֥ה אֶת־הַכֹּֽל׃ 


They make a banquet for revelry; wine makes life merry, and money answers every need.


קהלת רבה

“Money answers everything” – Rabbi Yehoshua of Sikhnin [said] in the name of Rabbi Levi: At times one is answered and at times one is not answered. At times, when one performs with it [money] acts of righteousness, he is answered… At times, when one does not perform with it acts of righteousness, it denounces him;.


משלי ג טז – אֹ֣רֶךְ יָ֭מִים בִּֽימִינָ֑הּ בִּ֝שְׂמֹאולָ֗הּ עֹ֣שֶׁר וְכָבֽוֹד׃ 

In her right hand is length of days,
In her left, riches and honor. 


Bava Batra 25b:8

Rabbi Yitzak says: One who wishes to become wise should face south, and one who wishes to become wealthy should face north…And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says: One should always face south, as once he becomes wise he will subsequently also become wealthy, as it is stated with regard to the Torah: “Length of days is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor” (Proverbs 3:16).


מדרש תהילים ה׳:ב׳


Rabbi Chanina said, “The Torah says (Proverbs 3:16), ‘In her left hand, riches and honor, and in her right hand, length of days.’ And for the poor??.” And the Holy Spirit responds and says, “To cause those who love me to inherit substance.” Why are they poor in this world? So that they should not occupy themselves with frivolous matters and forget the Torah. 


רבנו חננאל, חגיגה ט ע”ב

The Holy One, blessed be He, courted all manners and did not find a better one for Israel than being poor so that their hearts would be broken and their eyes directed to heaven and their eyes dependent on His mercy and grace. And this is what the people say, “The poverty of Israel is as beautiful as a red bridle to a white horse” which is visible, and it is known before the Holy One, blessed be He,  that when they deny him.. Jeshurun grew fat and kicked (דברים לב טו)


דברים רבה ב ל


A lover of money will not be satisfied with money, do they not know that no man fills his soul, what is money? He who loves the words of the Torah…

Another thing, a lover of money, said Rabbi Yitzchak, one who loves mitzvahs…


בבלי שבת צב א

אֵין הַשְּׁכִינָה שׁוֹרָה אֶלָּא עַל חָכָם גִּבּוֹר וְעָשִׁיר וּבַעַל קוֹמָה


hence they said that the Shekinah does not line up except for a mighty and rich sage.


נדרים לח א

אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן: אֵין הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַשְׁרֶה שְׁכִינָתוֹ אֶלָּא עַל גִּבּוֹר וְעָשִׁיר וְחָכָם וְעָנָיו

Rabbi Yoanan said: The Holy One, Blessed be He, rests His Divine Presence only upon one who is mighty, and wealthy, and wise, and humble. 


שיטה מקובצת על נדרים ל״ח א:ה׳
שיהיה שלם מכל דבר ולא יצטרך לאחר זולתו

 So he May he be free from everything and will not need another 


וירג’יניה וולף, חדר משלך, משכל הוצאה לאור, 2004, עמ’ 14

All I can offer you is an opinion on one secondary matter –

A woman must have money and a room of her own if she wants to write novels.


קהלת ה ט – ” אוֹהֵב כֶּסֶף לֹא יִשְׂבַּע כֶּסֶף”

A lover of money never has his fill of money, nor a lover of wealth his fill of income. That too is futile.


בעל שם טוב, יתרו ל״ז:א׳

May the Shabbat keepers and joy seekers, etc. rejoice in your kingdom. They will all be satisfied and take pleasure in your goodness, and it is difficult, isn’t it, in the business of this world that pleasure comes before satisfaction, and it would be appropriate to say that they will enjoy and then be satisfied? and the meaning is, there are in the business of this world pleasure without ever being satisfied, and there is satisfaction, but after satisfaction there is no pleasure again, Because in the matter of  wealth and great wealth there is pleasure, and everything that is richer has more pleasure, but it has no satisfaction,


משלי טז טז

קְֽנֹה־חׇכְמָ֗ה מַה־טּ֥וֹב מֵחָר֑וּץ וּקְנ֥וֹת בִּ֝ינָ֗ה נִבְחָ֥ר מִכָּֽסֶף׃ 

How much better to acquire wisdom than gold;
To acquire understanding is preferable to silver.


חובות הלבבות לרבנו בחיי אבן פקודה

אם חכמת חכמת לך כלומר שהקנינים הרוחניים הם שלך 

לא ישלול אותם ממך זולתך כאשר יקרה בקנינים הגופיים.


If  you worked hard to become wise, that means that the spiritual properties are yours

No one but you will deprive you of them like it happens in the physical properties

Rabbanit Yafit Clymer

Rabbanit Yafit Clymer is a senior lecturer in Jewish Studies at the several Matan learning centers, at 'Emunah' and WebYeshiva. She is a group instructor for various programs. Rabbanit Clymer is part of the steering committee of the 'Beit Hillel' organization and answers halachic questions online as a part of their Meshivat Nefesh project.
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