February 11, 2016 2:52 am at 2:52 am #617212
I know a good amount of semi really wealthy and well known people. One in media, some in business, law… what have you. I notice a consistent trend of them either going off the derech completely after a while or they literally only keep shabbos and kosher- no learning, no davening really, no bentching, not caring about nivul peh, onas devorim, lashon hara.
So I was wondering if there is something inherently contradictory between living a wealthy and “famous” life and living an authentically Jewish life. I know there are lots of different opinions and lines to be drawn regarding how you define an authentic Jewish life, but do feel there is an inherent incompatibility, wherever your personal line lies.February 11, 2016 4:47 am at 4:47 am #1137031
Poorer Jews tend to learn more Torah.February 11, 2016 5:28 am at 5:28 am #1137032Moshe1994Participant
One can be a Ben Torah regardless of their wealth. The pursuit of fame and glory however is very dangerous to ones spiritual health.February 11, 2016 6:08 am at 6:08 am #1137033Avi KParticipant
Many great talmidei chachamim were wealthy and many were poor. Both are challenges. The Ben Ish Hai, in fact, wrote on this. An anthology has been published in English as “The Challenge of Wealth and Poverty”.February 11, 2016 6:25 am at 6:25 am #1137034
Many more were poor than were rich, though both obviously occurred.February 11, 2016 8:38 am at 8:38 am #1137035assurnetParticipant
I used to look down on people I knew who were chasing after parnassa instead of spending more time learning. However I recently started trying trying to do my own small business and there is tremendous pressure to do hishtadlus. I’m roughly keeping my basic learning sedarim I had before but the extra learning I would do in my free time is down a bit – much more down however is my yearning to learn even when I don’t have the actual opportunity to do so. Before when I wasn’t learning I was wishing I could be, now when I have some free time I feel an overbearing need to focus it on studying different aspects of my potential parnassa. Even when I actually am learning I’m often thinking about business.
Hashem has really humbled me as previously I was a snob not understanding how somebody could have this yetzer hara. I truly believe on an intelectual level that Hashem dictates how much money I’ll make no matter how much or little hishtadlus I put in and that learning more Torah should only help my parnassa, however emotionally it’s quite hard not to feel the opposite.February 11, 2016 1:42 pm at 1:42 pm #1137036gavra_at_workParticipant
Satmar Rov brothers (both of them) are rich AND famous. Is Satmar not “authentic Judaism”?
How about Rebbe Yehudah HaNasi?February 11, 2016 1:43 pm at 1:43 pm #1137037
Some of the greatest yidden were fabulously wealthy and great talmidei cbachamim. The genera has a whole list of people who had Torah and gedula. To say they are incompatible with yiddishkeit is nonesense.February 11, 2016 3:08 pm at 3:08 pm #1137038flatbusherParticipant
apushta: times are different and the lure of external influence is great. I would imagine in talmudic times and even a century ago, it was easier to remain totally frum and wealthy/famous. Not saying this as an excuse, but offering an explanation. But as for the original post, one has to wonder about the people who seek the fame or certain types of parnassa that do challenge their yiddishkeit in the first place. And can we stop with citing a single, solitary example to disprove a point? There are always exceptions and I don’t think the original poster would disagree with that.February 11, 2016 3:13 pm at 3:13 pm #1137039akupermaParticipant
It depends on how rich or how famous one wants to be? A frum Jew would never end up giving away a much higher percentage of his wealth than even someone like Bloomie or Gates (both of whom give large amounts of money). To sit on that much money would be unacceptable in the frum world.
Getting that rich might be a problem as well, since its unlikely a yid with beard and pe’os and keeping Shabbos and kashrus could have pulled it off.February 11, 2016 4:56 pm at 4:56 pm #1137040gavra_at_workParticipant
To sit on that much money would be unacceptable in the frum world.
Unless it is “invested” in real estate, insurance companies, nursing homes and the like. There are plenty of really rich Yeraim Jews (9 figures +) (who do give a lot to Tzedaka).February 11, 2016 5:28 pm at 5:28 pm #1137041
Flatbusher. The question posed is: Is authentic Judaism incompatible with being rich and famous? Unless Shlomo Hamelech, Rabbeinu Hakadosh, Rav Ashi, Rambam and others were not practicing authentic Judaism (c’v), I would answer yes, they are compatible. Did I write something that you disagree with?February 11, 2016 5:32 pm at 5:32 pm #1137042
“And can we stop with citing a single, solitary example to disprove a point?”
The gemaras list is not a single solitary instance.February 11, 2016 5:46 pm at 5:46 pm #1137043lesschumrasParticipant
Far more poor, unknown immigrant Jews, faced with the edict of if you don’t come in on Saturday, don’t come in on Monday gave in to their poverty and went off the derech.February 11, 2016 6:21 pm at 6:21 pm #1137044zahavasdadParticipant
Far more poor, unknown immigrant Jews, faced with the edict of if you don’t come in on Saturday, don’t come in on Monday gave in to their poverty and went off the derech.
It wasnt just in America, in fact it was also in Europe there was a mass exodus to the cities where people were not religious anymore. In Poland alone about 2/3’s were not relgious.February 11, 2016 6:44 pm at 6:44 pm #1137045homerMember
assurnet you have really hit the nail on the head. Try to focus more on your Avodas Hashem and watch the other stuff fall into place.
One is not rewarded commensurate with how much Hishtadlus one puts in!February 11, 2016 6:58 pm at 6:58 pm #1137046
You can probably find more people giving up on following Hashem and His Laws in the Torah to obtain more wealth than to find find people who significantly give up one’s wealth to comply with the Torah and Halacha.February 11, 2016 7:00 pm at 7:00 pm #1137047blubluhParticipant
“no learning, no davening really, no bentching, not caring about nivul peh, onas devorim, lashon hara.”
Sadly, one can find people behaving this way across all socio-economic groups. Every person must grapple with his/her yetzer hara and make the right choices. No one escapes challenges.
On a more positive note, if you look for them you can find many people who do the right thing. Seek them out and try to learn from them.
That’s much more helpful in the long run than overgeneralizing about an entire class of people.February 11, 2016 7:17 pm at 7:17 pm #1137048lesschumrasParticipant
Zdhavasdad, the is a persistent folklore that nearly everyone in the alterheim was religious. Eastern European shtetls held out longer than Western Europe but the pace of assimilation was accelerating as more young Jews left for the big cities and were grabbed by the isms ( socialism, radicalism, communism, Zionism )February 11, 2016 7:47 pm at 7:47 pm #1137049flatbusherParticipant
Apushta: My point is that the environment we live in is much different from other times, especially the time of the gemara. Back then and even a hundred years ago, there were fewer lures and distractions that would have a negative impact on a wealthy person’s yiddishkeit. A famous person today, for example, is often called upon to make speeches and appearances, and that could affect davening with a minyan and learning because of travel. Same for wealthy. Is there evidence that wealthy people back then were faced with similar distractions?February 11, 2016 8:08 pm at 8:08 pm #1137050HealthParticipant
Neebee -“Is authentic Judaism incompatible with being rich and famous?”
The whole topic isn’t quite right! For sure in previous generations it wasn’t like this, but even nowadays it’s not. Eg. I’m poor and Mr. Rechnitz is rich & we both are Frumme Yidden.
The Yetzer Horah can work on e/o from A-Z!February 11, 2016 9:11 pm at 9:11 pm #1137051zahavasdadParticipant
Actually most jews in Eastern Europe were not Zionist, Most were actually Bundists, especially in Poland. Bundists were yiddish secularlists I guess somewhat socialists and wanted rights in Poland. It was the Bundists who were behind the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, however they were decimated after the war and it was not possible to live in Poland anymore so they became irrelevantFebruary 11, 2016 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm #1137052
assurnet, what a powerful and honest post. Can you try to make set times for learning no matter what? but I know its easier said than done. Hatzlacha to you.
Perhaps Hashem was trying to humble you not to judge others who had that yetzer and now you can move on.February 11, 2016 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm #1137053
I think many people ignored a key part of my question, the “and famous” part. Meaning, choosing an occupation where you strive to become a celebrity of sorts and very well known within that field when that field is not related to Judaism i.e not a famous rabbi or the King of Israel or prophet of God- as some of you have mentioned to refute my observation (I thought this was obvious).
Its just a blatant trend I noticed in my person life and wondered if others have noticed it also. I have likewise noticed a trend that extreme poverty often (though not as much) leads to going off the derech to an extent as well for many people in subtle ways.February 12, 2016 12:01 am at 12:01 am #1137054squeakParticipant
Depends which is the ikkar and which is the tafel. Someone who is striving to be a proper yid can also be rich and famous, but someone who is striv8ng to be rich and famous will find it hard to remain a proper yid.February 12, 2016 6:24 am at 6:24 am #1137055
squeak, yes though I think (and I could be wrong about this) the attitude is going in “I can do both” and then gradually, gradually they slip and slip further. I would not even be mentioning it if it didn’t happen to basically literally everyone I know in these positions.
But I think you are right- a human can only have one passion in life really. When that passion becomes the ikar (which it must if one wants to become the most famous and well known in that field) the Torah will change from being a passion to being an obligation. And when it becomes merely an obligation we tend only to keep the bare requirements- such as shabbos and kosher.February 12, 2016 2:42 pm at 2:42 pm #1137056
It is a mishna in avos. Kul haboreach min hakavod…..
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