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Jewish Journal

Rabbi Leder’s ten Money commandments

by Julie G Fax

January 8, 2004 | 7:00 pm

NET WORTH DOES NOT EQUAL SELF-WORTH

Stop equating what you earn with your value as a person. The true measure of a person has precious little to do with money.

IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY

Whatever our issues are concerning money, they are probably masking a deeper, more profound problem. Try to figure out what's really going on while changing your negative money behavior. See a therapist if you think it will help you to get to the root of your problem.

UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN YOUR WANTS AND NEEDS

Are you a slave to excess and materialism? Do you have an insatiable set of wants? Ask yourself if you really need whatever it is you want the next time you go shopping.

DON'T LIVE BEYOND YOUR MEANS

Remember that you cannot buy things without money, even if the banks and credit companies want you to believe that you can.

TEACH TRUST, NOT JUST TRUST FUNDS

While we all want our children to have a financial cushion, give them a legacy of values in addition to an inheritance. Remember that the time we spend with our kids is more important than the money we spend on them.

STOP WORKING YOUR LIFE AWAY

Are you working seven days per week? Give yourself a day for rest and reflection by keeping the Sabbath or setting aside some time from prayer or meditation.

SAVE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS BY BEING CLEAR WHEN LENDING MONEY

If a family member or friend asks you for a loan, offer to be a co-signer at a bank instead. Even if you don't use the bank as an emotional buffer, make sure you write down the terms of your agreement to avoid problems later on. If things still don't work out -- learn to forgive. Losing your family over money isn't worth it.

DON'T LET MONEY BREAK YOUR HEART

In marriage, money is an opportunity to create a shared vision for your life together. It doesn't have to be a deal breaker or heartbreaker.

RECEIVE BY GIVING

Joseph Campbell said by giving to those who are less fortunate, money is like congealed energy, "and releasing it releases life's possibilities."

LEARN TO BE GRATEFUL

God has created an abundance of what we need most (food, family and love), yet we often fail to see how well our needs are taken care of. Be grateful for the daily manna we already have. Over and over again when people come to see me who are suffering in some way, be it cancer, a divorce, a loss of any kind, they wish they could rewind their lives. Why? Not only to go back to a time before their troubles began, but also to go back in order to appreciate the things they took for granted. When sorrow comes, it's the simple things we miss most -- laughter, the company of friends, the sun, the rustling of leaves.

Excerpted from "More Money Than God: Living a Rich Life Without Losing Your Soul," by Steven Z. Leder.

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