Eco Rabbi: Parshat Vayishlach – Waste Not Want Not

jordan river, parashat vayishlach
Living green is about not being wasteful. If you save up a little bit at a time it adds up! David Bach in “The Automatic Millionaire” calls this the “latte factor.” In a nutshell, if you drink a latte every day it can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars over forty years.

But how far should a person go to avoid wasting?

In this week’s segment, Vayishlach, Jacob finds himself alone late one night on the wrong side of the tracks– well, river. The medieval commentator Rashi quotes the Talmud (Hulin 91a) and explains that while Jacob was crossing the Jordan to return to Israel he had left behind a few small jars, and went back to get them. Because he was left alone, he was attacked by an angel, with whom he fought until the morning.

Growing up within religious institutes I often was presented with the message that money isn’t important. But during these tough times it is hard to ignore just how essential money is to our survival.

And while it is the religious who often propose the position of living frugally, let us take this message from Jacob and the Talmud. When describing Jacob returning to retrieve the jars the Talmud explains that it is a trait of a righteous person to be careful of their money.

During these tough times it’s essential to be careful not to waste, neither money nor possessions. Every little bit adds up over time. This does not mean that you should stop giving! More and more I hear real stories about people see a direct correlation between what they give and what they get.

What I am stressing is that if you are careful about where everything goes, about how much energy you use and about how much you let your water run, you’ll see that this adds up and you’ll be able to give more, and live more!

Image Credit: road_less_trvled

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