Is Money just Money

January 4, 2023, Israel

Money, what is it? 

Money is a means of communication; it is a means of effecting a transaction, it is a way of transferring and exchanging value. 

I have several degrees in Finance, Economics and Banking and I could go on for a long time on the definitions of money and financial transactions, but that is not my point today. This blog was triggered, as most are, by events in my day. I wish to discuss the moral and spiritual value of money. 

Money can, does, and will corrupt. Money causes pain and death. Money causes war. Money causes friendships to end and governments to topple but money can also be an expression of the hightest moral values, of love and altruism. 

I recall my dear Uncle Seymour Katz of blessed memory, when I was a child he said to me, "No, I am not rich, just generous". That statement stayed with me for a lifetime. Rich and generous are not the same thing. One can be generous without being rich, one can be rich without being generous. But he who gives, becomes rich in his heart. 

As my niece is coming to visit me for the Sabbath, I am forced to finally clear out my guest room which involves going through several bags from the home of my late mother. It is too painful to go through the items, each one is a reminder of the deep pain of losing her. A scrap of paper with a note scribbled on it, a reminder to call a friend, a shopping list, an invitation to a grandson's wedding. Each a reminder of a life that is no longer, of a light that has gone out, of a longing that cannot be satisfied.

I came across a bag of checks. These must be shredded for security reasons. As I do not own a shredder and fires are frowned upon in these parts, I must tear them apart one by one. Which each tear I feel the tear in my heart, as if I am losing her again and again...

I look at the checks with her name on it and I remember. I remember her carefully writing a check, as she got older this became a slower process. She wrote checks for many charities. She wrote a check for the gifts for Chanukah, she wrote a check for a grandchild's wedding, she wrote me a check for my birthday. I look at the checks and I picture how each check was meant to be used, but now I must tear them up and throw them away. Those checks will not have her sweet handwriting on it, those checks will not become loving gifts. 

Each check symbolized love; an act of giving. She loved giving, she loved life. 

and I recall the checks from my dear Aunt Esther and Aunt Sylvia, may they rest in peace, written towards the end of their lives. One could see how the writing was done so slowly and carefully. They could no longer write quickly as they once did. The years take their toll and the old write slowly, trying to write clearly with shaking hands and painful arthritis. 

I recall when my father died, I found his wallet and remembered. I remembered how he would reach into his pocket to take out his wallet, this meant he was going to give us some money. His wallet, to us, symbolized love. 

It is the middle of the day, it is quiet, and I feel like walking up the road, a short walk, and visiting my dear mother and seeing her happy smile. She fought for a long time but the terrible disease... 

This is a great world; it is a world where we can do for others. It is a world in which we can give, our time, our money, our hearts. As Krav Maga instructors we must be givers, helpers, we must help others find their balance in life. 

A blank check with no one to sign it, that is death. Life is for giving. My mother's legacy is to live, to love, and to give. May her memory be a blessing to us all. 


Understand the Israeli Fighting Mentality - Israel a Nation of Warriors by Moshe Katz


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