the flow of trust: a jewish perspective on money

the flow of trust: a jewish perspective on money
Photo by Blake Wisz / Unsplash
“Money isn’t just physical; it’s a spiritual reality. It’s ‘spiritual’ in that it isn’t about folded pieces of paper, and it isn’t about what those little slips of paper can buy. It is about people and relationships. Money is the buzz; the connection that makes our interpersonal networks rich and fulfilling.”
― Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Thou Shall Prosper

In Judaism, money transcends its role as a mere tool for acquiring goods. It becomes a symbol of connection, a bridge built on trust between individuals. When money flows from one person to another in a transaction, it signifies not just the exchange of goods or services, but the exchange of faith. The buyer entrusts the seller with their hard-earned money, believing they will receive something of value in return. The seller, in turn, fulfills that trust by providing a genuine product or service. This cyclical flow of trust strengthens the fabric of society, fostering cooperation and mutual benefit.

Judaism discourages the hoarding of wealth. Stagnant money, hidden away in chests or accounts, represents a broken trust. It is seen as a betrayal of the potential for good that money possesses. The Torah itself emphasizes this concept, urging us to "open your hand wide and lend to your brother in need" (Deuteronomy 15:8). By keeping money in circulation, we contribute to a vibrant economy and ensure that those in need have access to resources. It's a philosophy akin to the flow of water in a river - stagnant water breeds decay, while a flowing river sustains life.

The Jewish view emphasizes that prosperity is not solely measured by the amount of money one accumulates, but by the good one does with it. The more actively your money flows, supporting businesses, helping those in need, and being used for good deeds, the more prosperity it generates, not just financially, but also in terms of building a stronger and more just community. This active participation in the economic cycle is seen as a way of honoring God's blessings and fulfilling one's responsibility to their fellow human beings.

In essence, the Jewish perspective on money challenges our modern, often materialistic, view. It reminds us that true wealth lies not just in what we possess, but in the connections we forge and the positive impact we have on the world around us. By viewing money as a tool for building trust, fostering community, and promoting good deeds, we can create a more prosperous and equitable society for all.