I remember the heated conversations 10 years ago during Shabbat kiddush at our shul:
“I’m investing in this brand new cryptocurrency called Bitcoin. It’s going to change the world! Do you also want to invest?”
“How much does it cost?”
“You can buy a Bitcoin for literally a dollar!”
“Um…I think I’ll stick to the dollar bill I know. Or something safe like gold. Not sure I want to risk my money on some craze…”
“Are you meshuggeh? You’ll lose all your money!”
“It’s so cheap, what is there to lose?”
“It’s going to take over the world markets, I’m telling you…”
And so on…
I remember considering it. After all, it was so cheap and you never know… How I wish now that I had bought even a single Bitcoin back then! Today I could sell it for $50,000! Not a bad investment for a Chabad rabbi. And if I’d bought more…well, then I could’ve bought our Chabad center a Bitcoin building on the Upper East Side.
A few people from our shul did invest, and some of them are millionaires now! Hopefully, they’ll remember the warmth and camaraderie (and delicious food!) at our kiddushes, and keep us in mind in their charitable giving.
I’m sure I’m not the only one wishing I’d invested back then.
But in conversation with a friend this week, I said, “Nu, you’re worth so much on paper now, surely you’re going to sell?”
“Absolutely not!” he said. “Rabbi, just Google what Bitcoin will be worth in 2030!”
So I did, and discovered that it’s expected to hit a $400,000 value. Which means that even if you bought now for $50,000, in 10 years you could cash in for $400,000. Still not a bad investment!
“But what if it crashes and you lose all your money?” I asked.
No response. After all, $50,000 is nothing for a product that is going to change the world!
So is he right? Will Bitcoin continue its surge or will it crash, devastating millions of people? No one knows.
But here’s what I do know, and how I can reassure you if you’re having non-buyer’s remorse:
On Rosh Hashanah G-d determines exactly how much each person will earn that year. The exact amount, to the dollar. And there is nothing we can do that will make us earn a dollar (or a Bitcoin!) more than that.
So, should you invest in Bitcoin? Well, if you have some extra money to risk, here’s what I suggest (for Bitcoin or any other investment):
First, pray to G-d, because He’s the one who controls the world and every aspect of our lives. Then make your investment with a promise that 10 percent of your earnings will go directly to charity. And then, well, then I wish you much success!
In fact, this is the story of Purim—the only book in the Torah that doesn’t mention G-d’s name even once. During the happenings in Shushan, G-d’s involvement was not overt. But looking back, it is clear that His hand and presence is reflected in every part of the story.
And that is what we need to do — open our eyes and recognize His presence in every moment and every aspect of our lives, including our investments. So if G-d has blessed your Bitcoin to turn into gold, it surely will!
Rabbi Uriel Vigler