Wednesday, May 29, 2013

GOD vs More, More, More

(God vs More, More, More)

This is the bread (manna) that God is giving you to eat…They (the Israelites) gathered exactly enough for each one to eat. Moses announced to them, ‘Let no man leave any over until morning. Some men did not listen to Moses and left a portion over for the morning. It (the manna) became putrid and maggoty with worms…When Friday came, what they gathered turned out to be a double portion of food (for there is no gathering on Shabbat)
Exodus 16:16-22

            Fear of extinction and or pain motivates man to acquisition (derivative more, more, more) and consequentially from faith in God being primary.
             If man believed and knew that now and in the future he would be provided for – would man still seek ‘more, more, more’ (whether it is tangible goods or services or a medium of exchange ((money)) for goods and services)?

            Yes, as proven historically & repeatedly he’d seek extra manna (‘manana manna’© aka more – just in case – placing it into a Rubbermaid™ or Debbie Meyer™ ziplock to try to overcome the rotting).

            Even in the desert, the spies feared the Canaanites more than they had faith in God (regardless of witnessing the splitting of the Sea of Reeds, plagues etc) stating, ‘they are giants and we are grasshoppers.’ Further’more,’,the translation ‘they (the Canaanites) are stronger than we’ (Numbers 13:31) in Sotah 35a the interpreted version of the text is ‘they are stronger than Him.
            Is it any wonder, man (especially those seeking 501c(4)’s tax exemption with the words Patriot’ and “Tea Party” in their application) fears the IRS more than they fear, are in awe, or have faith in Hashem?

            Man chooses & seeks the myth of ‘more’ to douse or palliate the fear of extinction its anxiety and anticipatory pain over faith. Derivatively, man seeks materially more as he defines himself comparatively to others rather than use the material to continue to complete his spiritual incompletions. Alternatively, man insulates himself in the spiritual (enclaves, monasteries) or the faux spiritual (The Cumbaya Democrat Party) to avoid ‘adulteration’ but in reality fails in his task of spiritualizing the material.

            In the desert, man was provided with manna/food (that took on the taste of that which he desired), had shelter, clothes that never wore out (nor had to be bought at Abercombe & Fitch to be cool), didn’t have to worry about the adequacy of his 401k  when the US or Tokyo stock market went down 400 points,  and had Almightycare (unlike Obamacare no rationing and the tribal leaders couldn’t opt out) (2). And yet the Israelites complained, bitched and kvetched – “we fondly remember the fish that we could eat in Egypt at no cost, along with the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic”  Numbers 11:5.

In God We Trust (all others pay cash)
            Then and now, there is never enough. God – Shaddai – is never enough (though ‘believe in God just to cover one’s bets). God is ‘just in case.’

            Yet, current currencies change and can become devalued by printing money etc. There is always ‘something’ to fear – such that there is ‘never enough’ as there can never be enough when there is ‘always something’ and another ‘if only.’ (Solve ‘if only #1 and if only #2 is promoted along with another ‘something’ to be concerned about.)
            God remains yet currencies changes – but it is the current currency that is pursued and held in awe.

            So then, why is the primary reliance on the current currency?

Now there is no ‘cloud’ overhead to protect (as in the 40 years in the wilderness) nor clothing that never wears out (let alone that is always fashionable), and  Obamacare is no match for Almightycare.. (And even when there was a cloud, wrinkle wear out free clothing, & Almightycare – that wasn’t enough.)

            The fear of extinction and the anxiety of the future reinforce the delusion of more as the panacea.

            Man wants immortality which goes back to the Tree of Knowledge, Babel etc.  Acquisition (Cain in Hebrew) and it’s consequential derivative more – regardless of its failures in the material in yielding ‘immortality’ continues like a hamster on the wheel or in computer lingo a never ending ‘do loop.’

You can love a lot better with money than without it
Ellis Schwartz

            Neither marrying well nor going into the fetal position are answers relative to man’s never ending quest for the insularity of more – now that the cloud doesn’t hover over and protect, the clothing wears out, and the prospect of Obamacare is Obamian (think Nixonian).

I give you good leather. It’s up to you to make good shoes

            Yet to assert faith alone, while ideal (and a failing of this writer), even accepting  enough (instead of more) is a) merely an enabler and b) culturally urinating in the wind. Yet there is one’s God given and demonstrated adaptability and resourcefulness which – we dismiss when the bravado subsides – which has and will secure – God willing- whatever the current currency.
            In the later years of this writer’s fee only personal financial planning practice, during the personal prospectus session (see Enough: A Handbook for Your Personal Financial Planning or the blog:, I would ask the client to fill in the following:

Difficulty                    How You Overcame It           How It Proved Your Adapability
                                                                                    & Resourcefulness

            I’d ask them to list at least five.
            Then, the question would be posed, given your resilience proven by what you have overcome, how come – given you either have enough or are on track to enough and then some – you need more?
            After a series of “yeah, yeah, yeah but’s” (including ‘that was then, this is now – I’m older etc)–  too often the real answer was the belief in more money ‘as a cushion just in case – regardless of enough’ rather than themselves let alone ‘The Man Upstairs.’
            Finally, to make the point in context of effort: how much time has one spent on ‘of only’s’ versus ‘here are the difficulties, I’ve overcome and how I did it – which proves I can be adaptable and resourceful?
            There are no guarantees. Mutual Benefit Life had an A+++ rating and it went down. Standard & Poor’s gave securitized subprime mortgage loans AAA ratings and the bonds went down (and S&P still remains unscathed). Sammy Sosa had a corked bat.  There is no material answer guarantee: none.
But there is connection: connection through faith (proving faith through deeds),
continuing to connect to one’s assignment to refine his incompletions, connection via the company of dogs, and maybe understanding enough to tamp down the  intermittent (at best) anxiety & worry of more, more, more as the answer to fear of extinction.

            And that’s Inreach for Upreach as I Reach Down to give Her Royal Highness Goodie her belly rub.

1.- especially those titled 501c(4)’s with the words Patriot’ and “Tea Party”
2.- There is another interpretation: The ‘spies’ who went into observe Caanan really didn’t want to leave the desert (despite the kvetching of fellow tribes members) as all their material needs were met (food, shelter, clothing) and thus they were without worry and could focus just on the spiritual. I shall call this the The Spiritual Welfare State interpretation.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bashert 'Meant To Be' : In Relationships, with Dogs, & Personal Financial Planning

Bashert ( meant to be ) In Relationships, with Dogs & Personal Financial Planning

Bashert, often spelled Beshert – fated - has come to mean primarily – soul mate paired to ‘reattachment’ & ‘love’ when bashert originally was defined as ‘meant to be’ with often times an element of ‘again.’

            A story – and please forgive the poetic license.

            The Chasidic Shlomo Schwartz was going into the city on the NY Transit subway, and he noticed the woman seated across from him.
            He doesn’t know why – and especially never having seen her previously – he felt affection for her.

            Yet, he didn’t introduce himself as:

  • They weren’t properly introduced which is the Chasidic way (the good reason)
  • He didn’t have the gumption (real reason number #1)
  • He didn’t have a wing man to say to her ‘do you know Shlomo’ – ala the How I Met Your Mother tv show method – ( real reason #2)

Shlomo was bothered for several days with recurring regrets of ‘should haves and if onlys ( I should have, if only I had) such while replaying that day on the subway over and over and over again while driving – he didn’t pay attention to his speed and was ticketed.
Finally, the day came for him to go to court as he wanted to contest the ticket.
All rose for the judge’s entry.
Adorned in the judge’s black robe hearing Shlomo’s case was ‘the woman on the subway.’

Shlomo didn’t beat the fine but after his sentencing he made ‘points’ with ‘the judge’ as he began his ‘courting.’

Bashert – meant to be.

            Bashert (meant to be) is not limited to human relationships.

Max, the Alpha Romeo, black standard poodle and Yaakov ‘The Balagola’ Schwartz were ‘meant to be.’

Yaakov first met Max and his brother one day outside Petco. As his former guardian wrote to Yaakov, “Max immediately recognized you, like an old friend. That very dog that was so protective of me actually went up to you to cuddle with you, if he recognized a long lost friend… I thought about that encounter for a long time because there was something surreal about Max's reaction, like love at first sight. I had never seen Max behave that way towards a stranger, ever… Too many coincidences. No good explanation really. It was meant to be, you and Max.”

A year to that day later, Max came to live with Yaakov & his standard poodles Moses and Elle.
Max  would escape his former guardian’s house if a door was open or just jump their 6’ fence and ‘have an adventure.’ In addition, despite repeated requests, Max would never sleep on the guardians’ bed.
            That very first night and for 9 years thereafter, Max would sleep with Yaakov (against his left hand side). Furthermore, Max never escaped or jumped the 6” backyard fence.
            Max was Yaakov’s Alpha Romeo dog.
            On one hand, 10 squirrels, 7 rabbits, 5 birds killed which he would bring into the house ‘to share’ and yet, on the other hand, he would daily sidle up against Yaakov and to the request of ‘hug, hug’ lower his head into his chest gently nudging him.

            Even on Max’s last day on this earth, had there had been a physical threat Yaakov, Max would have summoned his last bit of strength to revert to 5 years of age – to protect him – as The Dog In Black - judge, jury, and executioner (forget tickets and points).

            Max, Bashert – meant to be
            (One day, again, Max!)

            And Bashert (meant to be) is not limited to human and canine relationships. Discovery of bashert (meant to be) ideally can be connected to and enabled by personal financial life planning

I’ve cut so much hair, I’ve lost my concept
Warren Beatty in Shampoo

            The explicit and implicit promise of personal financial planning is the alignment of personal resources to achieve life goals and values. Ideally, personal financial planning and better yet personal financial life planning’s purpose is to heal personal financial anxiety by puttin’ money in its place to enable connection and transcendence of clients to their significance – to their bashert – (their meant to be – their Why I Am.)

 (do not) place a stumbling block before the blind
Leviticus 19:14

(nor to those to whom you owe ‘substitute reliance’)
Yaakov, The Balagola

            Yet, systemically, regardless of compensation method, fiduciary declarations ‘real or airbrushed’, personal financial planning, AND (as generally practiced) personal financial life planning has succumbed to the overarching ephemeral seduction of ‘more’ which is never ‘enough.’
            More, more, more, despite protestations to the contrary, trumps, body (and soul) slams, and supersedes aligning personal resources and life goals and values let alone enabling clients’ transcendence and connection to their significance – their bashert – their meant to be.
And ironically, more, better now becomes all too often less, worse and later as more is never enough.
            Being a MORE-on is detrimental not only to one’s fiscal and physical health but also spiritually crowding out and contraindicating to bashert (meant to be)

            The derivative fiscal symptoms of ‘more is never enough’ (besides ‘if onlys,’ external blaming, and or internal recriminations):

  • focusing on which one /what kind (stock, bond, sector etf etc)
  • external relative comparison to indexes (Dow Jones, S&P) rather than goals
  • in sum, managing assets instead of managing goals.

            Without excusing MOREon personal financial planning and personal financial life planning’s useful idiot co-conspirator role, more is cultural. More ‘temporarily’ externally validates by comparison those who have ‘more’ (as if they are right, better, good, and relatively more worthy and worthwhile). This external more validation is reinforced by the duality of not having more meaning one is (without enunciation though a wink) less, worse, bad and not as worthwhile.
            Driven, overarching More, More, More drowns out the voice, the space for, and discovery of bashert(s) (meant to be) in comparison and fear.


We are not able to go up against the people (the Canaanites) for they are stronger than we
Numbers 13:31

Stronger than we is also translated ‘stronger than HIM’
Sotah 35a

            According to some there are 100+ names or relationships to God. In particular, the meaning of Shaddai in Hebrew according to Rabbi Twerski is ‘God, God Almighty, God All Sufficient, enough.
             There is no name for God that means ‘more.’


            At best, the ENOUGH(SM) approach to personal financial life planning – may – at best remove or at worst move to the curb a few stumbling blocks thus creating space for ‘what is meant to be’ (bashert). (1) The point is there is no space – only stumbling blocks to one’s bashert – meant to be (mission, purpose etc in this context) given the overarching driver of more, more, more.

            More, more, more suffocates bashert
Dogs create space for bashert.
As far as soul mate bashert –  drive within the speed limits (so sayeth Yaakov, The Balagola)


(1) For more info on the ENOUGH(SM) approach ((and in particular, the Personal Prospectus tool)) see my books by the same title (out of print put probably available for $1 of less) and or go to the blog: www.healingfinancialanxiety.blogspot.) Forthcoming over next few months shall be another ebook/tool: The Soul Resume©: Judaic Version – subtitled - Why Should I Be Admitted To Olam Haba (World To Come/Heaven)! (A question mark is probably more appropo!)