These remarks, though addressed to the particular gathering, also contain lessons of general nature, based upon the teachings of our Sages, which shed light on the manner in which a person should respond to G‑d’s blessings of prosperity and success.

This meeting is being held during the Ten Days of Teshuvah, a unique time of year. The uniqueness of a particular season is a concept that need not be explained to businessmen. The status of the economy depends upon prevailing conditions of the time, with varying seasons more opportune for particular business ventures. This phenomenon is not accidental. It is by Divine Providence, to make one more aware how greater potential is granted during particular times of the year for success in Torah, mitzvos, and the full range of activities they inspire.

This time of year is associated with the acceptance of resolutions regarding one’s behavior in the year to come. This particularly applies to men of means who have been blessed with special capabilities and opportunities to increase the good that exists in their own homes, their communities, and in the world at large. Their wealth is a sign of the trust and confidence G‑d has in them that they will exercise these potentials to the fullest degree.

In this context, we can better understand our Sages’ statement: “Rebbe (Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi, the compiler of the Mishnah) honored the wealthy.” Now, Rebbe did not need to curry favor with anyone. (Indeed, our Sages compared his personal wealth to that of the Roman emperor.) He honored the wealthy because of his awareness of the trust which G‑d vested in them to utilize their bounty to spread good and blessing around them and in the world at large.

Surely, the resolutions you accept will involve the mitzvah of tzedakah. Indeed, the desire to become involved in such activities is one of the personality traits which characterize the Jewish people who are, to quote our Sages, “merciful, humble, and perform acts of kindness.” Similarly, giving tzedakah fulfills the mitzvah of “Love your fellowman as yourself,” which is “a great principle of the Torah.”

G‑d will certainly repay your generosity by increasing the trust he has bestowed upon you and expanding your potentials for positive activity. In the world at large, we see that when a person fulfills the responsibilities with which he has been entrusted, he is rewarded, and at the same time is also given greater responsibilities. Similarly, when a person uses his or her wealth for the purposes that G‑d intended, He rewards him and entrusts him with more wealth to use for these purposes.

One of the cardinal principles in the world of business is honesty and trust, where promises are fulfilled and commitments are honored. This conduct, in turn, evokes the trust and commitment of others. This trust leads to greater business opportunity.

Influence accompanies wealth. A person’s success affords him the opportunity to spread his values among others. His involvement in the positive activities mentioned above serves as an example to others. Indeed, the advertising industry has capitalized on the fact that a successful person’s involvement in a particular activity is itself an inspiration for others to emulate.

Furthermore, it is usual for business associates and colleagues to consult each other and share ideas and advice. There is no better advice to give a colleague then to involve himself in tzedakah, giving a tenth or a fifth of his or her profits to charity, and through these efforts, spread good throughout the world.

A corollary to the above point:

In business dealings, one is often involved with non-Jews. This provides an opportunity to influence them to fulfill the seven universal laws given to “the descendants of Noach.” The Rambam (Maimonides) writes that each Jew has the responsibility to spread the observance of these principles of justice and morality to all mankind.

The latter concept is reflected in our High Holiday prayers when we beseech G‑d to “Reign over the entire world in Your glory... May everything that has been created comprehend that You have created it;” i.e., we request that every person become aware and feel that G‑d creates and controls all existence. This consciousness will surely motivate that person to carry out His will. By spreading such awareness, a person influences and transforms his surroundings and the entire world into a place which is fit to serve as “a sanctuary and a dwelling for G‑d.”

The potential for the success of the above activities is further enhanced by the fact that many people have gathered together to make resolutions to use their potentials for positive purposes and support the positive efforts mentioned above. As is seen in business, however great the potential possessed by any single individual, the “pooling of potentials” in cooperative efforts multiplies the possibilities for success.

A parallel to this concept can be seen in the laws of prayer relevant in this season. Our Sages have taught that during these Ten Days of Teshuvah, the prayers recited by an individual have the same power as communal prayer throughout the year. It is self-understood that communal prayer during this period reaches an even higher level.

The success of these activities should not lead to complacency or motivate one to “rest on his laurels.” Instead, as our Sages declared, “Whoever has one hundred desires two hundred, whoever possesses two hundred, desires four hundred.” The positive activities one performs and the success they bring should motivate an increase, and a double increase, in these activities.

May your charitable activities bring blessing to all your affairs, including your personal matters and those of your families. May you receive the blessings traditionally conveyed at this time of year, a chasima and a g’mar chasima tova.

These blessings are enhanced by the unique nature of this year. The Hebrew letters which refer to the year 5750 (תש"נ) serve as an acronym (in Hebrew) that means “This will be a year of miracles,” bringing miraculous success in all one’s endeavors. The positive nature of this year is further emphasized by the fact that Rosh HaShanah (the “Head of the year”) was celebrated on Shabbos, a day which the Torah describes as a day of blessings.

May the miraculous nature of this year also be reflected in the realm of interpersonal relations, and may colleagues and associates who in the past may have had difficulties seeing eye to eye, join together in combined activities which will increase their potential for success.

May this year also bring peace and understanding in the world at large, bringing about a Shabbos-like atmosphere of tranquility, and may this hasten the coming of the era which is “Shabbos and rest for eternity,” the Messianic age. Soon, may we reach and be able to see the last moment of galus (exile) and it will become the first moment of Redemption, speedily in our day.