JWR Outlook

Jewish World Review May 8, 2001 / 15 Iyar, 5761

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“Better a dish of vegetables where there is love than a fattened ox where there is hatred.”

                        —   Proverbs (15:17)

“Better dry bread and peacefulness with it than a house full of meals eaten in strife.”

                        —   (ibid 17:1)

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- Our culture has become so money oriented that we judge good or bad, happiness or misery, by material wealth. We even judge people by how much they own. You have heard it said, "He is worth millions." That person may have millions of dollars, but that says nothing about how much he is worth.

Most people would like to be wealthy. The acquisitive drive appears to be innate. So is the desire for food. Great wealth is no more a sign of happiness than obesity is a sign of good health.

While it may appear absurd to glorify poverty, the fact is that people who survive on a subsistence level have little concern whether the stock market rises or falls. Simple meals can satisfy one's hunger just as can delicacies. People of meager belongings do not lose sleep because of the anxiety of a possible income tax audit. The children of those of modest means do not have bitter arguments about getting what they think is their share of the family's wealth. Children of the affluent may develop bitter hatred for one another because they feel that other siblings took more than they had coming.

The above verse was written by Solomon. He grew up in a royal home where there was strife over succession to the throne. Two of King David's sons were killed because of their aspiration to the throne.

Peacefulness can make dry bread much tastier than strife-ridden delicacies.

Abraham J. Twerski, M.D. is a psychiatrist and ordained rabbi. He is the founder of the Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, a leading center for addiction treatment. An Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, he is a prolific author, with some 30 books to his credit, including Wisdom Each Day, from which this was excerpted (Sales of this book help fund JWR). Send your comments by clicking here.

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