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Jewish Culture

Feeling Richer than the Rich

Moshe Unger
Posted 7/15/22

In the past, I mentioned Rabbi Yoel Gold. He is a Rabbi in L.A. and produces interesting short videos with personal stories. They can be found on YouTube by searching “Rabbi Yoel Gold”.

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Jewish Culture

Feeling Richer than the Rich


In the past, I mentioned Rabbi Yoel Gold. He is a Rabbi in L.A. and produces interesting short videos with personal stories. They can be found on YouTube by searching “Rabbi Yoel Gold”.

In one video, he tells the story of Kivi Bernhard. Kivi is a professional motivational speaker. He is hired for events and by corporations to give inspirational speeches. Kivi is originally from South Africa. He wrote a book a few years ago with the title, “Leopardology: The Hunt for Profit in a Tough Global Economy”.

The book was an instant bestseller, making Kivi a sought-after international speaker. One day, Kivi gets a phone call from the Speakers Bureau, inviting him to deliver the keynote address at a very important Microsoft conference. Hundreds of vendors from around the world were going to be there including Bill Gates himself. It was a huge opportunity for Kivi.

However, the date that they were asking for happened to be a Saturday, which, of course, is Shabbos. Kivi immediately said, “It’s a Saturday. And as you know, I don’t work on Saturdays”.

The next thing he knows, Kivi receives a phone call from one of the senior vice presidents of Microsoft, offering him an exorbitant sum of money. He says, “Double? Triple? What do you need? I’ll send you the check and you write it!”. Kivi said, “John, it’s not about money. It’s about Sabbath observance”.

Bang!! The executive slams down the phone. With no choice left, Microsoft had to change the date of the keynote speech to Sunday, so Kivi could deliver his talk.

A few months later, Kivi got a phone call from this senior vice president at Microsoft who shared with him, how he had just been with Bill Gates in his private jet with a bunch of top executives and they were talking about the conference.

John, the senior vice president, related, “It was the craziest thing. We had this guy Kivi, who was supposed to be the keynote speaker. And we just couldn’t get him to commit to the Saturday platform because he’s Sabbath observant.” John is explaining this to Mr. Gates, and he’s saying, “We even threw money at him. He just wouldn’t budge off the Sabbath.”

John shared with Kivi that when Mr. Gates heard this, he said back to John, “That’s what happens when you have something that money can’t buy!”

In the West, today, money is very important. Not only is it important as a means to live a comfortable life; it has also become a value system. Many people measure their self-worth based on the size of their bank accounts.

Here we have Bill Gates who symbolizes the ideal of Corporate America – making unlimited amounts of money and then to make even more. Even he realizes that there are some things that are beyond money.

We, lay people, who don’t make tons of money, who struggle to cover the month’s expenses, sometimes get overwhelmed by the idolatry of money. However, we can always find in our hearts the values that we hold dear, the commitments that we cherish, and the responsibilities to our family and friends. When we hold tight to them, we should feel richer than the richest because we are!

We need to develop our values and tap into them at least once a day. If someone holds dear Chesed (-doing good to others), they should have a goal of doing at least one Chesed a day. Plan it out the night before, “Where and how will I do good tomorrow?” Then you wake up with a goal that is greater than the world’s diamonds. The same can be done with gratitude, Torah study, responsibility to family, or prayer.

These values are worth more than the world’s gold, and they are beyond reach by the money of the rich.

Comments? Email me: moshe@mosheunger.com


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