Message for the Week from Rabbi Stein

Your Highest Self

Rabbi Jay M. Stein on Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 12:00:00 am

Mishna Avot 6:9 

… R. JOSE B. KISMA SAID: ONCE I WAS WALKING BY THE WAY WHEN A MAN MET ME, AND GAVE ME [THE SALUTATION OF] PEACE’, AND I RETURNED HIM [THE SALUTATION OF] PEACE’. SAID HE TO ME, RABBI, FROM WHAT PLACE ART THOU?’ SAID I TO HIM, ‘FROM A GREAT CITY OF SAGES AND SCRIBES AM I.’ SAID HE TO ME, ‘RABBI, [SHOULD IT BE] THY PLEASURE THAT THOU DWELL WITH US IN OUR PLACE, I WILL GIVE THEE A THOUSAND THOUSAND DENARII OF GOLD, AND PRECIOUS STONES AND PEARLS.’ SAID I TO HIM: ‘IF THOU SHOULDST GIVE ME ALL THE SILVER AND GOLD, PRECIOUS STONES AND PEARLS THAT ARE IN THE WORLD, I WOULD NOT DWELL [ANYWHERE] EXCEPTING IN A PLACE OF TORAH;…

 

The Rabbis of this Mishna engage in a common hypothetical.  If you had all of the money in the world, how would you live your life. Today that hypothetical is most commonly envisioned in retirement.  That is, you have enough to live on comfortably what will you do with your time?

Each of us must ask that question.  Each of us must ask ourselves is this the life we want to be living? For the rabbis of this Mishna the question is placed in the material world.  But for us we must take the lesson one step beyond. We must ask ourselves who are we and are we the person we want to be regardless of socio-economic factors.  Are we living our highest self? What does your highest self look like? Is that really being affected by your finances?