I am troubled by the fund raising that goes on this time of year in the Jewish world. I always imagined that these "Days of Awe" between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are days for soul searching and spiritual yearning. It all seems soiled by the crass mention of money at every turn. Why bring up dirt when we're trying to get to heaven?


Some consider money to be dirt. In the Hebrew language, the word dirt has no negative connotation. Why should it? Dirt is the earth from which life grows. In Hebrew, the words dirt, soil, earth or mud are never used as deprecative adjectives as in English.

So too, money. Jewish people never considered money to be evil. Neither is money a contradiction to spiritual growth. Rather, like earth, it is the stuff from which many good deeds can grow.

Put it this way: We are G‑d's treasurers. Money is put into our hands as a responsibility. Those who have more simply have a greater responsibility to ensure that these funds are properly distributed.

During the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we need to demonstrate that we will be good treasurers in the year to come. When we give responsibly with an open hand and when we celebrate the act of giving, G‑d reciprocates by opening His holy hand to us and filling all our days of the coming year with a flow of blessings, both material and spiritual.

That way, we can have heaven on the earth down here—when our earthly wealth is being used for heavenly purposes.