"Torah Wealth" articles, please check footnotes for important extra
Avraham Tzvi Schwartz
only impoverish a person.
He loses a whole work-day, a day where he could be earning. This is
This makes sense. Still, the truth is the exact opposite.
Roman government once decreed that the Jews should
not keep Shabbos. R’ Reuven ben Isteroboli went, shaved his
forehead [that he
might look like a Roman], and sat with them.
who has an enemy,” he asked them, “should he make
him poor or rich?”
make him poor,” they all answered.
so, let the Jews cease from working on Shabbos, that
they may be poor” he told them.
said,” they replied, “we will annul the
decree,” and they annulled
However, when they discovered later that Reb
Reuven was a Jew, they
instituted it again.
There are a
helps a person towards
wealth. The first is by compensating him for all that he spends in the
Tachlipha, brother of Ravnai Chozah,
taught: A person’s livelihood is
fixed from Rosh haShana to Rosh haShana, with the exception of what he
on Shabbos and Yom Tov ...
If he cuts back his expenses on them, the Heavens correspondingly cut
his allowance; and if he spends more
on them, they correspondingly, increase it. (Beitza
Source of Wealth
beyond the fact
does not burden a
person financially, it also brings him wealth.
asked R’ Yishmael b’Rebbi Yosi, “How do
wealthy of Bavel
merit their wealth?”
honoring the Torah,” he answered.
in other lands?” R’ asked.
honoring the Shabbos.”
Yochanan said in the name of R’ Yosi: One who gives
delight to the Shabbos,
receives an inheritance that has no boundaries...
Yehuda said in the name of Rav: One who gives delight to the Shabbos,
receives his heart’s desires. (Shabbos 118a,b)
Chiya bar Aba related, “Once a certain man in Ludkia
hosted me. The servants brought in a golden table so heavy, that
had to carry it. Silver chains were fixed to it. Bowls and cups, jugs
flasks adorned it. Every type of food, delicacy and spice graced it.
they set it down they proclaimed, “The earth and its
contents belongs to Hashem.” (Tehillim
When they removed it they
declared, “The Heavens are
Hashem’s, while the earth he gave to man.” (Tehillim
How did you merit this wealth,
my son?” I asked him.
“I was a
butcher,” he told me, “and whenever a beautiful
animal came my way,
I would set it aside for Shabbos.”
fortunate you are,” I told him, “that you merited
so much, and blessed
is Hashem who gave you all this.” (Shabbos 119a)
there was a certain very wealthy non-Jew who lived
near Yosef Mokir-Shabsa, (Yosef who honored Shabbos). Star-gazers told
see that Yosef Mokir-Shabsa has eaten all your wealth.”On
hearing this the non-Jew went, sold all his property,
and bought a precious jewel with the proceeds. He hid the jewel in his
when he crossed a bridge, the wind blew his hat into
the river. A fish swallowed the jewel. Fishermen caught the fish on
“Who will buy this fish
now?” they asked.
“Take it to
Yosef Mokir-Shabsa,” they told them, “who usually
buys delicacies in honor of Shabbos.” Yosef bought it, tore
it open, and found
the jewel. He sold it for thirteen attics of golden dinarim.
old man met Yosef and told him; “One who lends to Shabbos,
Shabbos repays him!” (Shabbos
Rabbis taught: There is a hard-worker who profits,
and a hard-worker who loses; [likewise] there is a lazy-worker who
a lazy-worker who loses.
There is a
hard-worker who profits – this is the person who works all
and does not work on Erev Shabbos. There is a
hard-worker who loses –
this is the person who works all week, and also works on Erev
is lazy-worker who profits – This is a person who
doesn’t work all
week, and also doesn’t work on Erev Shabbos.
There is a lazy-worker who loses – This is a person who
doesn’t work all week,
but does work on Erev Shabbos.
was a wealthy family in Yerushalayim. But because they feasted on
Erev Shabbos, [thus entering Shabbos with full stomachs and shaming her
they lost their wealth. (Gitin
Householders who inspect their property on Shabbos,
lose their wealth. (Gitin
certain pious man
once walked in his vineyard on Shabbos
thinking all along how he might improve it. Suddenly he found a hole in
“I will not fix this
hole,” he rebuked himself, “for I
had thought to fix it on Shabbos!”
then did Hashem then do? He sent a caper-bush that sealed his wall.
Moreover, the bush sustained the pious man with its fruits for the rest
life. (VaYikra Raba 34.16)
should not even pray for our personal needs on Shabbos...
then do we pray in the Birkas haMazon, ‘feed us, sustain
R’ Zeira asked R’ Chiya bar Aba.
is the format of the blessing,”
he answered. (ibid.)
Just as the
week has the
Shabbos day as its crown,
so the seven-year cycle has its special Shabbos, the Shmitta year. And
observing the Shabbos day brings him to prosperity, while
scorning it leads to
poverty, similarly and even more so, observing Shmitta brings him to
while profaning it leads to his downfall.
cherishes “the sevens”...
Amongst the days, the seventh day is dearer than all other days.
years, the seventh year is dearer than all other years. (VaYikra Raba 29.11)
Hashem’s wish they keep Shmitta
seven years, but when they do not fulfill His will, they must keep four
How so? To
produce good crops, a
farmer leaves his field fallow one year
and farms it the next. Thus he leaves his field fallow four times in
years; but if he keeps Shmitta, Hashem blesses his
field and he need
only leave the field fallow once in seven years.
(Mechilta Mishpatim 23.213)
Yisrael to keep Shmitta,”
Hashem told Moshe, “so that
they are not exiled from the land.”
(Yalkut Shimoni, BeHar 658.)
person eager to become rich who does not keep Shmitta,
this will help him. The Divine Presence however, tells him:
“You will lose
through this; you
have cursed your own property, and now you will have to sell
(Tanchuma BeHar 1)
b’Rebbi Chanina taught: See how severe is the dust of Shmitta – if a person buys and sells
seventh year fruits, Heaven
impoverishes him such that he must sell up his goods. If he is
Heaven’s message and does not change his ways, they force him
to sell his
fields. If he is indifferent to this message and does not change his
force him to sell his house. If he is indifferent to this message and
change his ways, they force him to sell his daughter as a maidservant.
If he is
indifferent to this message and does not change his ways, they force
money with ribis. If he is indifferent to this
message and does not
change his ways, they force him sell himself. (Kidushin 20a)