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This is the 1st of 5 videos that introduce this powerful Podcast Series.

Video Post

What Does It Mean To Be Rich?

This transcript– “What does it mean to be rich?” – is expanded from this video and a Special Podcast Episode by the same name, which is about work-life balance and happiness.

The video above and the podcast are of similar lengths, at 3:48, and contain one of the most valuable life lessons David Felsenthal has ever learned.

A slightly expanded version from the transcript follows, which begins to delve into balancing happiness and the persuit of money and becoming rich. It is complete with the story that ended up being that powerful lesson for David.

We hope you enjoy this short transcript.

Get you priorities straight.

My friend Peter comes from a very rich family. When we were younger, I remember him telling me about a date he had gone on.

He picked up the girl for their first date, in a regular car wearing basic clothing.

She was very disappointed because she knew he was rich and she expected something more extravagant. 

Peter was upset that she was all about the externals, so he drove her to the airport, bought first-class tickets to a nice location for both of them and spent a day in the sun.

That night, he dropped her off at home and told her he would never contact her again.

Her focus was on money – not happiness. 

I’ll never forget the impact it made on me that he had his priorities straight and was headed towards a dream life. 

What is true wealth?

Ironically, as we got older he began pursuing money so much that he never had time for his old friends. Now I only read about him in the news, which is usually not such a good thing. If you have all the money in the world, and all the things that it can buy, but you’re not happy – you’re not able to enjoy it. Then are you really rich? There’s a lesson in the Torah from a book called The Ethics of Our Fathers. In chapter four it says that Ben Zoma makes several points.
  1. Who is wise – one who learns from every person
  2. Who is mighty – one who controls their inclination
  3. Who is rich – one who rejoices in what they have
  4. Who is honored – one who honors their fellow human beings

Does rich = happy?

Money is great.
I’m all for materialistic abundance.
But that won’t bring you true joy.
Realizing everything you have been blessed with, including your fellow human beings, and all of the wonders of this world will lead to true happiness.
One of my mentors, Rabbi Noach Weinberg, used to ask his students if they would rather be rich or happy.
Invariably, they would answer happily.

He would then ask them to study with him for six weeks, to learn the secrets of happiness from the Torah.

They would say they can’t and would provide multiple excuses, and he would say, “That’s such a shame. Since so many people are unhappy, the government gave us a grant to give people $10,000 to take this course”.

All of a sudden, the students could all find ways to participate in the learning.

Rabbi Weinberg would then say, “I thought you said you’d rather be happy than rich. But when I offered to teach you to be happy, you couldn’t accept. When I offered money, suddenly you could. So now that you admit that it was not that you couldn’t, it’s just that you didn’t want to, are you ready to learn to be happy?”.

How to be rich and happy

That is the goal of these podcasts.
The title, The Rabbi who Got Rich on Sunday catches your attention.
Now that I have your attention, I will teach you how to make money.
But I’ll also teach you how to have a really wonderful dream life.

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