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03/27/2020 09:39:27 AM

Mar27

Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  Dt. 30:19-20

Some of our political leaders are trying to balance the health of our economy against the health of our citizenry. It reminds me of this piece of Talmud:

וְאָ֣הַבְתָּ֔ אֵ֖ת יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֥ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ֖ וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶֽךָ׃

(A standard translation is: You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your soul, and with all your heart, and with all your might. Dt. 6:5)

Rabbi Eliezer says:  

If the verse says "with all your soul," why does it need to say "with all your might"? And since it says, "with all your might," why does it need to say "with all your soul"?

Ahhh. If one's body is more precious to him than his money, the verse says, "with all your soul." But if one's money is more precious to him than his property, it says, "with all your might."  --b. Brachot 61b

Two things to know:  

1) Rabbi Eliezer was rich, and 2) the earliest interpretations of "might" from this biblical verse are property and money. 

Samson Raphael Hirsch, the father of Modern Orthodoxy in Germany in the mid-19th century, turned the verse around. Whatever you love with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your money — that is your God.

The Talmud's word for money is mammon — and that reminds of a Jewish verse from a text that became Christian, The Gospel of Matthew. "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (6:24).

As Bob Dylan said, "You're gonna have to serve somebody."

Thu, October 29 2020 11 Cheshvan 5781