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Kislev 9

If you seize too much, you are left with nothing. If you take less, you may retain it (Rosh Hashanah 4b).

Sometimes our appetites are insatiable; more accurately, we act as though they were insatiable. The Midrash states that a person may never be satisfied. "If he has one hundred, he wants two hundred. If he gets two hundred, he wants four hundred" (Koheles Rabbah 1:34). How often have we seen people whose insatiable desire for material wealth resulted in their losing everything, much like the gambler whose constant urge to win results in total loss.

People's bodies are finite, and their actual needs are limited. The endless pursuit for more wealth than they can use is nothing more than an elusive belief that they can live forever (Psalms 49:10).

The one part of us which is indeed infinite is our neshamah (soul), which, being of Divine origin, can crave and achieve infinity and eternity, and such craving is characteristic of spiritual growth.

How strange that we tend to give the body much more than it can possibly handle, and the neshamah so much less than it needs!

Today I shall...

try to avoid striving for material excesses, and increase my efforts to provide my neshamah with spiritual nourishment.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

Published: May 21, 2009

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