Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Ladder of Wealth

Art: Happiness in Perpetuity by Paul Bond
Jacob dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set earthward, and its top reached Heavenward. [Gen 28:12]

A wooden ladder with ten identical rungs was leaning against the side of a house.  The top rung looked down on the rungs below it - especially the lowest one.

"As you can see" boasted the top rung, "the owner of the house has set me above you because of my superiority."

A passer-by overheard and quickly turned the ladder upside-down.  Now the former top rung could boast no longer.  The new top rung, too, refrained from boasting - for fear that the same fate might befall it.

The ladder is a metaphor for money.  In Hebrew the two words (ladder) סולם and (money) ממון are numerically equal.

Don't let wealth make you arrogant. Remember that the ladder of wealth can be turned upside down in a minute.

The ladder is "set earthward" - it looks to people as if their efforts at business or professions bring them wealth.  But in reality, "its top reaches Heavenward" - it is G-d who decides whether a person will make money or lose it.

Source: from the writings of the Ben Ish Chai

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