Video Shiur: Do you want to be rich? We got a solution!
Who is rich? He who is satisfied with his lot, as it is said: ‘When you eat the toil of your hands you are fortunate and it is good for you’ (Psalms 128:2). ‘You are fortunate’ — in this world; ‘and it is good for you’ — in the World to Come.
“Who is rich? He who is satisfied with his lot:” This gem of rabbinical wisdom is so “obvious” to us all, yet we spend the bulk of our lives in frustrating pursuit of the much less accurate definition.
Ben Zoma’s point in a word is that true satisfaction does not derive from having. Wealth does not ensure happiness. It is an important means towards many other things — comfort, self-sufficiency, tranquility, peace of mind. But if we make it an ends — if its pursuit consumes us and occupies all our waking hours — we will find nothing but stress and anxiety.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslev, taught that people help control desire for money by giving charity. He wrote that when the messiah comes, there will be no more desire for money. Having strong emunah is the Jewish path towards synthesized happiness.
When you live charged with gratitude, you will give thanks for anything or anyone who has benefited you, whether they meant to or not. Imagine a prayer of thanks springing to your lips when the driver in the car next to you lets you merge without protest, or when the water flows from the tap, or the food is adequate?
When gratitude is well-established like that, it is a sign of a heart that has been made right and whole. Gratitude can’t coexist with arrogance, resentment and selfishness.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov writes, “Gratitude rejoices with her sister joy, and is always ready to light a candle and have a party. Gratitude doesn’t much like the old cronies of boredom, despair and taking life for granted.”
Gratitude opens the heart, and that’s why it provides a fine orientation equally to the inanimate, human and divine dimensions of the world.