by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto Shlita
It is written, “As the partridge broods over eggs that she did not lay, so is one who amasses wealth unjustly. In the midst of his days it will leave him, and at his end he will be considered a fool” [Jeremiah 17:11]
The Midrash states that the partridge takes the eggs of other birds and sits on them until they hatch. When the chicks hatch, they soon realize they are not of the same species and desert the partridge. Why does the partridge deserve this? Because it covered eggs that did not belong to it!
The Reshith Chochma writes in chapter Massa UMattan BaEmuna that a person who cannot be trusted in business will not rejoice in his lot. He who pursues wealth and struggles to acquire money dishonestly brings evil upon the world, as well as a tremendous amount of harm upon his body and possessions, as it is written: “One who is impatient to get rich will not go unpunished” [Mishlei 28:20]. A curse will suddenly come upon his possessions, and all his money will disappear. He will depend on others, and of him it is said: “As the partridge broods over eggs that she did not lay.” How much better and enjoyable is the little that is acquired honestly and justly, than the much that is acquired dishonestly!
In Kuntras Middot UMishkalot and Shem Olam, the Chafetz Chaim states that a person must realize that the wealth he amasses dishonestly and by fraudulent means will leave him in the midst of his days. In other words, either his wealth will be abandoned by him in the midst of his days, or he will be abandoned by his wealth in the midst of his days. This means that either a person’s money will pass away or the person himself will pass away. Sometimes this occurs through illness and tragedy (G-d forbid), and such a person will experience more pain than the joy he felt in accumulating his wealth. In fact when wealth does not originate from Hashem’s blessing, such as when it occurs because a person transgressed Hashem’s will, he will experience misfortune at the same time as his wealth, and the more his wealth accumulates, the more his misfortunes will increase. This can occur, for example, through illness, concerns over children, by being attacked or robbed, and by all other hardships that people experience. The result will be that such a person will derive no satisfaction from his wealth.