Friday, September 16, 2011

Spending beyond our means?

The words of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (aka Chafetz Chaim) in his afterword to Ahavat Chesed (original Hebrew at the end of the post):

In truth, when we inquire of a person about his conduct in his household spending, in which he acts as though he was wealthy and great beyond his means, his answer is ready to hand. He says that he cannot reduce his household needs one iota, and he trusts Gd to help him with this.

However, when a matter of tzedakah and chesed comes before him, he toughens his heart and closes his hand and makes himself out to be needy and indigent, and he does not even give according to his means.

Regarding this Mishlei 13:7 says, "There is one who acts as though he is wealthy and he has nothing, and one who acts as though he is poor and he has great wealth."

I find this not only in the way I spend my money, but in the way I spend my time and energy – as he writes, it's about chesed, too, and not only tzedekah. For certain things I can always find time and push off other concerns. For other pursuits, I suddenly have no time.

A good thought as we begin Cheshbon haNefesh (personal accounting) season.

The original Hebrew:
ובאמת כאשר נשאל לכל אחד ואחד על הנהגתו בהוצאת ביתו שהוא מתנהג כעשיר ורב הוא יתר מכפי ערכו תירוצו נכון לפניו שאי אפשר לגרע מהנהגת הבית מאומה והוא בוטח בד' שיעזרנו על זה ואלו כשבא לפניו ענין צדקה וחסד הוא מאמץ לבו וקופץ ידו ועושה את עצמו לעני ודל ואינו נותן אף לפי ערכו ועל ענין כזה אמר הכתוב יש מתעשר ואין כל מתרושש והון רב

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