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Running on Jewish Time

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Day 32: On the Acquisition of Material Objects

A sudden realization struck me, a few days, mid-bracha, Starbucks coffee hovering halfway to my mouth. Between the suit and the shoes and the jewelry, I was wearing a month's worth of rent.

That's a lot of money for me.

Another thought slinked out of it's shadow, but for how long?

As time passes, money is becoming, well, cheaper.
Big purchases shifted from a dollar, to a five, to a ten, to twenty and now, I don't blink at credit card bills that would have left me gasping for air, five years ago.

There is a love/hate relationship with the joys of this world. Everything is so pretty and shiny and new and never quite enough.
If you give a kid an iPod,
he's going to want something to carry it in.
Then he's going to take it to school
and his friends are going to want to listen to it also.
So he'll ask you for a stereo.....

But what if I don't want to want and keep wanting? To attempt to fill an insatiable hunger that only grows with each acquisition?

The burnt caramel smell of the coffee teasing my nostrils, I paused, how much do I really want this coffee? How much do I really want anything?

and how much does that matter?

Willing or no, we live with our feet treading the earth and our heads brushing the clouds, stretching the whole depth of existence. Not animal or angel to tread some set measure of purpose but simply man.

We have this gift of a physical world and a physical existence, of a need to eat and a need to sleep and a need to become greater than merely ourselves. To say we do not is dishonest. Both physical and spiritual. Both the self that clings limpet-like to bed and sleep and the self that sweetly sings tehillim through the crisp morning air.

Staring at the images intermingling in the cream and coffee swirls in my cup, I whisper "Sh'hakol n'heiyeh b'davro- All of this [both together] was created by His word"


  • Every so often we need sudden burts of clarity to guide us when things become opaque.
    Great Post!

    By Blogger kasamba, at 3:31 AM, May 15, 2006  

  • I think it is important to have a goal on the horizon. If we always had everything we ever wanted we would become bored and unhappy. The gashmius was put here on this earth to enjoy and to elevate it. That is what you did by making a bracha....

    By Blogger FrumGirl, at 12:56 PM, May 15, 2006  

  • One often struggles with what they perceive as choices between ruchniyus and gashmiyus. Good for you that you realize that even the gashmiyus can be ruchniyus as well.

    By Blogger A Frum Idealist, at 12:59 PM, May 15, 2006  

  • Mas - Beautiful thought. So much, if we're using it and not the other way around. As long as we control the material realm, we can understand Gd's purpose in creating it all. But once we let it control us...

    By Blogger Josh, at 8:22 PM, May 15, 2006  

  • masmida --that was a very intense cup of coffee. i hope it wasn't caffeinated...seriously, though, it sometimes sickens me when I realized just how much materialism I engage in -buying, buying, buying, eating, buying, buying, eating--uh. I think my ratio of ruchnius to gashmius really needs some work.

    By Blogger Okee, at 12:56 AM, May 16, 2006  

  • Brilliant. Thanks.

    By Blogger Sara, at 5:31 PM, May 16, 2006  

  • It's interesting how perspectives change as we ourselves grow and change. As long as we remember Who is behind everything, we'll be be okay (I hope!).

    By Blogger Scraps, at 7:57 PM, May 16, 2006  

  • Great ending.
    We are allowed to enjoy the pleasures of this world (well some of them) as long as we remember what really matters.

    By Blogger Pragmatician, at 8:13 AM, May 17, 2006  

  • I don't think that wanting is the problem. As long as you can always differentiate between what you want and what you need you will be fine. It's once those two start overlapping that you have a problem.

    By Blogger ayala, at 3:25 PM, May 18, 2006  

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