Do you have riches that will last? What do you really own? Are the material riches you have really yours?
A famous Rabbi(1) once said: “If you were to give me all the silver, gold, precious stones and pearls in the world, I would not dwell anywhere but in a place of Torah.”
In this statement he was to some degree echoing the words of King David who stated in Psalm 119:72 “The Torah you have spoken means more to me than a fortune in gold and silver.”
King David recognized that the Torah was worth far more to man than material riches. But perhaps he recognized even more, and that is that the riches of the world, the gold and silver is really the Almighty’s anyway, to do with as He sees fit. In fact, the Almighty, has promised that one day he will repeat on a bigger scale, the giving of gold and silver from the Gentiles to the Jewish people that he orchestrated for the Exodus.
Just as the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel is a bigger miracle and a more incredible act of the Almighty than the Exodus, so too it appears, will be this latter day gift of Gentile gold and silver.
Jeremiah declared that a greater miracle was to come in Jeremiah 16:14-15
“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers.”
We have witnessed this greater miracle in our lifetime!
Similarly, the Almighty speaks of a rebuilding of His ‘Tent of Meeting’, His Temple in the last days:
“4 Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, 5 according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. 6 For thus says the Lord of hosts:
‘6 Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. 7 And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts.
8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts.
9 The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts. And in this place I will give shalom, declares the LORD of hosts.” – Haggai 2
So not only are the material riches of the world really in the control of the Almighty and thus, these are not the riches that we should seek to keep for ourselves, there are many passages in Scripture that speak of the great treasure that is Torah and obedience to Torah.
Another common one is:
20 My son, obey your father’s command (i.e. Torah), and don’t abandon your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them always on your heart, tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you wake up, they will talk with you.
23 For the mitzvah (commandment) is a lamp, Torah is light, and reproofs that discipline are the way to life.” – Proverbs 6
Some of the Rabbi’s have an interesting take on verse 22. They argue that it speaks of the eternal nature of Torah and its role in our death and resurrection.
They understand this verse as stating:
‘When you walk, they (Torah or the commandments of Torah) will lead you’ – that is, in this life you should be lead by the divine instructions that are Torah;
‘when you lie down, they will watch over you’ – meaning that when you are in the grave Torah will protect you even there; and
‘when you wake up, they will talk with you (or ‘they will be your speech’).’ – meaning that when you awaken to the World to Come, Torah will be what you speak.
As the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31 will, at last be fully instituted, all will know Torah in their hearts, – ‘… says Adonai: “I will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts …’ – Jeremiah 31:32.
May you discover that true treasure that is the Torah!
May you be abundantly wealthy in the only treasure that you can take with you when you die!
(1) Rabbi Yossi ben Kisma- see Pirkei Avot, ch. 6