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    Things or thoughts? – Re’eh

    The haftarah talks about money.

    It’s a subject on which we are all experts, so much so that in some synagogues people talk about it incessantly – not God or man, life or death, blessings or curses, joys or sorrows, but money.

    Most of the time the talk is not about the money we have, but the money we’d like.

    What does the haftarah have to say on the subject? A question: “Why do you spend money for that which is not bread?” The question invites another question – “Why not?” Is bread the only thing on which we should spend money?

    There was a fascinating article in the Jerusalem Post recently. Reprinted from an American source, the article calculated that once a family has a basic amount of income, calculated in this article at $75,000 a year, they should not be talking of spending on extra things but on experiences – travel, events, and so on.

    We can all argue about the $75,000, and many people who earn much less will still wonder where the money is coming from, and everyone will have a point of view about how much they really need for their household expenses, but the distinction between items and experiences is valid and important.

    From the Jewish angle it suggests that we should be concerned with both the Shabbat bread and the Shabbat experience, with what goes into the mouth and what goes into the mind.

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