Israel Forever

For the week ending 13 December 2008 / 16 Kislev 5769

When Belts Are Tightened

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

In a world desperately trying to come to terms with the collapse of most of its financial structure, a single word can make the difference in how people succeed in adjusting to the lower standard of living forced upon them.

"I have plenty," is what Esav said in this week's Torah portion in politely turning down the lavish gift from his brother, the Patriarch Yaakov.

"I have everything," is what Yaakov declares when he begs him to accept this gift.

When one is content with what he has, he has no need for more, and is indeed what the Sages in Pirkei Avot describe the wealthy man as “one who rejoices in what he has”.

But if one is so enticed by materialism like Esav, he is never content with what he has, and strives for more and more so that he can boast that he has plenty.

As Israelis tighten their belts along with the rest of the world they can take comfort in the knowledge that they are the descendants of the tzaddik who said, "I have everything" — and thus persevere in Israel forever.

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