Our Holy law sets out 613 precepts. One should note that although the number may seem exorbitant, it is not. I’ll explain: God wants to save His people, therefore he multiplied the number of precepts, not to oppress, but to facilitate the way to gain with their variety. The wealthy gain through liberalism; the poor gain through tolerance, the wise gain through meditation and the devout gain through accuracy. Finally, they unite in the center as many lines from many distant points converge in a circle. After having chosen different paths to serve God, in the end, the righteous develop into God, unite in God. They merit thanks to God and enjoy God.

God punishes each person according to his means: A wealthy man attains as much forgiveness with his big ox as the poor man with one small goat (Pesachim 118a)

This moral and theological axiom can be seen on the list in Ezekiel’s vision of the chariot. In chapter one, he states about the four creatures in the divine chariot: One had the face of a man, the other the face of a lion, one the face of an ox, and the last one had the face of an eagle (Ezequiel – Yechezkel 1:10):

ודמות פניהם פני אדם ופני אריה אל הימין לארבעתם ופני שור מהשמאול לארבעתן ופני נשר לארבעתן

And their faces resembled the face of a man; and the face of a lion was on their right, among the four; and the face of an ox on their left, among the four, and the face of an eagle, among the four.

These representations symbolize, as you will see, four heroic virtues. Although they may seem distant from each other in the beginning, they are uniform in the end because they all lead us to heaven, guide us towards glory and accompany us to perpetual happiness.

In [the symbol of] man are represented two powers: Wealth and liberalism; the first usually brings assets of fortune, the second, emotional assets. They are convenient to some people if applied with justice because these depend on understanding and reflection of which the irrational man is incapable of. Therefore, having lots of money is not enough to be wealthy, because the irrational man can enjoy such right, however, knowing that one has a lot is only a perception of man; in the sense, I have more than necessary, therefore I am wealthy. Without knowledge, the irrational man cannot notice the line nor follow this thread. Even if he owns much, the irrational man is not rich and should not be classified as such.

These same reasons need to be taken into account when questioning liberalism.

It is certain, therefore, wealth and liberalism are symbolized in man alone, excluding any other animal:

ודמות פניהם פני אדם

And their faces resembled the face of a man
The lion is understood as the enthusiast, burning with passion and belligerent, shows off for God and fights for the glory of his holy name:

ופני אריה אל הימין

and the face of a lion was on their right

The ox is understood as the poor man who works hard like the beast of burden and who does not eat much like the ox, sowing wheat and eating straw, who with patience suffers under his yoke:

ופני שור מהשמאול

and the face of an ox on their left

Finally, the eagle is understood as the wise one who tirelessly and diligently ponders over the divine law, who with insightful understanding ascends like an eagle to contemplate the sun of the sun:

ופני נשר לארבעתן

and the face of an eagle among the four

כי שמש ומגן יהוה אלהים

for sun and shield to the Living Nature of Hashem  (Tehillim 84:11)

Triunfos de la Pobreza

You heard the comparison, now hear the moral practice, although not for pulpit delivery, it remains a mystery: You see here the wealthy as liberal, the enthusiast as devout, the poor as martyr and the wise as diligent, to an equal degree, placed in the divine chariot succeeding by virtues, distant from each other. Great reassurance for the poor man to realize his suffering seen as valuable in the eyes of God as the liberalism of the wealthy, the dedication of the wise and the enthusiasm of the devout.

ודמות פניהם פני אדם ופני אריה אל הימין לארבעתם ופני שור מהשמאול לארבעתן ופני נשר לארבעתן

And their faces resembled the face of a man, and the face of a lion was on their right, among the four, and the face of an ox to their left, among the four, and the face of an eagle, among the four
(Ezequiel – Yechezkel 1:10)

Encourage yourselves, poor ones, reassure yourselves and know that your miseries, your anxieties, your sighs are as pleasant and acceptable to God as the most expensive bail offerings of the wealthy. [God punishes each person according to his means:] Therefore, a wealthy man attains as much forgiveness with his big ox as the poor man with one small goat:

עשיר בשורו ועני בשיו
ירצה לקרבן אשה לה

[He punishes by taking from the] wealthy man the ox, from a poor person the goat (Pesachim 118a). It shall be accepted for a fire offering to Hashem (Vayikra – Leviticus 22:27).

Translated from the eulogy by David Nieto (London, 1709)