If you read this blog regularly you probably know I have little appreciation for the pragmatism that has infected Judaism in lieu of ideology. This article is the latest evidence of the trend: a celebration of the power of Jews to make money [yes, you did read that correctly]. Instead of brushing off the “hondling gene” as an anti-semitic pejorative, it is applauded as a typically Jewish attribute. The article quotes from a Satmar Chossod, “An education is helpful for earning a living, but it’s irrelevant if you want to make MONEY.” [caps in the original] Yes, I know – there are wonderful things you can do with money, and the more money you have, the easier it is to help have that yeshiva built, dedicate a hospital wing, and what not, activities which undoubtedly are fulfilling and rewarding endeavors. But should a Jew set his sights on making "MONEY", or should a Jew be satisfied “earning a living” and dedicating the rest of his time to avodas Hashem? Is every Jew considered capable of engaging in limud haTorah and avodah on some level, which should be a priority after their living needs are met, or do some Jews now have a blanket heter to devote themselves 150% to making “MONEY” because they are incapable of learning and that is there only possible outlet for avodah? Is celebrating "MONEY" a Jewish value?
Let’s put it this way: given the choice to raising your child to be a talmid chacham but with average parnasa, or a rich am ha’aretz who can devote himself to good causes, which would you prefer? (I wish I was convinced that the answers to this were going to be as clear cut…. Please prove me wrong!)