So, the basic idea of this cartoon should be pretty obvious: People are worth more than any sum of money you can assign to them. And when times are tough economically, we tend to start valuing others, and more importantly, ourselves, based on how we're doing financially. So this seemed like a good message to try to convey.

The funny thing is, it was reaaaally hard to find a quote for this. I just went ahead and animated it, assuming that there were dozens of perfect quotes to express this idea. But it was much harder than I expected.

When I finally did find the perfect quote, it wasn't where I expected it. This statement is not from "The Ethics of Our Fathers", or from an ethical midrashic teaching. It actually shows up right in the middle of a legal discussion in the Talmud. The discussion is like this: A guy is running for his life from a killer, and during the course of his escape he breaks some stuff. Is he responsible for the damages? The answer is no, "a person's money should not be valued above his life." Sounds right. The guy was running for his life, that's all that mattered at the moment.

So why am I revealing the somewhat technical context of an otherwise non-technical ethical statement? Here's why: The entire tractate of the Talmud that this quote is from discusses monetary damages: how much things and people are worth if you break or hurt them, and how much you'd have to pay. And in that context, when we're trying to figure out how a person should take responsibility in financial situations, it's actually important to be focused on the person's money. But as soon as the topic of discussion shifts over to life itself, the monetary values become irrelevant.

What this means to me is that while I'm trying to figure out what my most responsible course of action is in a time of financial difficulty, then it's appropriate for me to be focusing on monetary values. But if I start thinking about my life, and what it's worth, then I have to remember that my life means so much more than my money.

That's what I got out of it. But the nice thing about these stick figures cartoons is that I'm never really sure what they're supposed to mean. So if y'all have a different take on it, I'd love to hear it.