Tuesday, July 20, 2010

As Rodney Dangerfield would say, the economy is so bad that...and an Ethical Will

There is one guarantee for every one of us in life - we are going to die. (Though it sounds so final, don't worry - our Bible teaches that there is a World to Come, a life after this life.) When your time on this earth is complete, what is it that you would like to leave to your children?

Most people think about transferring their wealth. however there is  a study that unless parents transfer "5 Capitals" -Financial, Social, Human, Intellectual and Spiritual - to their children, 70% of their wealth will dissipate within 2 generations and 90% will disappear within 3 generations!

(Social capital - philanthropy and community leadership. Human capital -pursuing one's own calling. Intellectual capital - getting the best possible education, working hard and challenging oneself. Spiritual -sharing common beliefs and value systems.

Part of the Spiritual Capital is what you have learned about life - what is truly valuable, insights into people, how to use your time. Would that be something that you would like to leave to your children? It's called an Ethical Will. For centuries and probably for thousands of years, Spiritual People have left an Ethical Will for their children. Perhaps the most famous is Moshe Nachmanides' (Ramban) Letter to his son


"All of you are familiar with a legal will, in which you dispose of all your property and designate the beneficiary of each asset. An ethical will is your reflection on your life as a spiritual person. What the prime motivating values governing your life are - and how through the prism of your own experience, G-d's laws are enacted and validated.

"Make a commitment, and get thee a spouse - a lone person is nothing but lonely - but with a spouse, and with God's help, children can be a reality. A family is formed, and you are at the beginning of the future. A family leads to being part of a community, and within a community, you are a force and you have strength. As a community you claim kinship with your people, its collective experience and its collective memory - roots and a past.

"Make your family home an oasis of faith, tranquility, light and warmth so that it becomes an example worthy of emulation.

"Share - share your feelings, your joys, your sorrows, and your blessings. Sharing is caring and its material implementation is Charity (righteousness - philanthropy). Everything you have is not only a result of your own efforts, but by and large, it is Providential. When trouble strikes, we all ask 'Why me?' Similarly, when you have abundance, you should ask 'Why me?' Share your earnings, your income, and your assets with your community and its institutions.

"This must be planned, not only on a current basis, but on an endowment basis, for continuity of support. A balance must be struck between competing needs, between institutions and individuals, between impersonal-giving and one-on-one interacting, and between the mature and the new, the innovated, the untried.

"Be alive. Learn to let yourself feel. Learn the language of emotion. Learn to savor each moment even if it does not last - in fact savor it because it does not last.

"Learn to thank G-d for creating emotions and feelings. Each day let one person feel comfort because of you. Each day let one person see hope because of you.

"Do not be indifferent. Indifference is a greater danger than evil, because it precedes evil and allows it to flourish. The Holocaust is the prime example in my lifetime.

"Learn and practice the absolute standards taught in our Bible in our relationships with others so that our society can continue to function smoothly. Do not associate with those who do not adhere to a high level of conduct.

"Communicate not only by speaking, but also by listening. Listen for silences and for pauses - for these express as much as words.

"Do it now - act now. Each day must be planned, and its results must be evaluated and measured each evening.

"Ask questions - question everything, not from a destructive standpoint, but rather to understand and to improve. Question yourself, your institutions, and your society.

"Have faith - Establish a relationship with God.

Love Yehuda
As Rodney Dangerfield would say, the economy is so bad that...
I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.
African television stations are now showing 'Sponsor an American Child' commercials! 
I ordered a burger at McDonald's and the kid behind the counter asked, "Can you afford fries with that?"
CEO's are now playing miniature golf.
B.P. laid off 25 Congressmen.
My ATM gave me an IOU
I saw a Mormon polygamist with only one wife.
McDonald's is selling the 1/4 ouncer.
Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children's names.
My cousin had an exorcism but couldn't afford to pay for it, and they re-possessed her!
A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico .
Motel Six won't leave the light on anymore.  
A picture is now only worth 200 words.
They renamed Wall Street "Curb Street ."
When Bill and Hillary travel together, they now have to share a room.
The Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates.
And finally.....
I bought a toaster oven and my free gift with the purchase was a bank.

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