Raising the Rates of Return
By Larry Fine
A while back at a gathering, a friend told me, "I put my cash in a CD and I made 6% over the past year." He looked arrogant and proud, smiling after a year of stock market slumps.
"Hmm," my second friend interrupted, "I put my cash in gold and made over 60% in the last two years."
My first friend's smile slowly disappeared from his face.
We all want the highest rate of return for our cash; as a matter of fact, I think it is safe to say that we want the highest rate of return not only for our precious money but also for our life. The question is just how to go about getting it.
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The high holiday season comes in and is impressive and then it goes. We go to the synagogue and recite our prayers each of us with some degree of feeling and devotion, some have more feeling and devotion, others less. We try to be good, some at least one day a year, others the entire year, but what can we do? We are human and subject to human err. Perfection is the possession of G-d; we mortal humans err.
Let's face it: Who is going to live forever? We are all going to die. Some will die early, fifty or sixty; others will live to the eighties or maybe nineties. There are rate people who live to a hundred, but I have never personally met them.
We are all going to leave this world; no one lives forever. When we go, what are we going to take with us? Money? Fancy clothing and electronics? We all know we are going to take nothing - nothing but our good deeds.
Have you ever been to a funeral? The speakers don't tell you how much money this person made or how beautiful this woman dressed. No one praises the dead by how much they ate. You will never see a tombstone telling us that the person resting in this plot ate several thousand chickens in his lifetime. They talk about the special qualities that the person had; they relate what a kind person he was; how he helped so many poor people. They tell how kind this lady was; she worked in a charity store that helped the poor.
You take with you the good deeds and mitzvot that you have done. That is what goes with you, not the money, not the clothing and not the sweets.
Generally when we are young we are involved in conquering the world; in making money, meeting and marrying, seeing what is in the world. As we get older, we realize that there really isn't in the world that much that attracts us. We then become attracted to the truth. The truth being is that we are Jewish and we are going to answer to G-d.
Many people as they age become more religious and that can be a positive movement in their life. As people age they begin to see the folly in the world and they 'return' to their religion. What could be better?
That which causes the person to move back to his roots; to identify with his people is a return that yields a return. When a person comes near to the last days of his life; he/she will have something to show for it. There is something intrinsically good in helping the poor; in giving money to charities, in joining a synagogue. The good that he does he/she will take with him into the next world.
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But there is really a better return for the investment. Like the difference between the return of a CD compared to an investment in gold; a return to the religion is nothing compared to a return to G-d. Our religion is good, even better, it is great. And it is a religion that provide benefits to those who observe it. But G-d is the ultimate; a return to Him far exceeds any return on any earthly benefit that can be gained while you are here on this earth.
As you mature, think: What is the best return for my investment? Then act because soon every thing will change and only those who have invested their time in good deeds and mitzvot will harvest a wealth both in this material world and also in the next world. Invest wisely now and prepare to reap large benefits.
from the November 2011 Edition of the Jewish Magazine