Dovid Vigler

Unconventional Wealth Preservation Strategies

Image by hello1694 from Pixabay:

Be the change you want to see in the world!

For decades, Yehudit Jerufi worked as a pharmacist in Kiryat Malachi in Israel. One day, a woman asked to skip the line: “My son is a soldier in the IDF, and he is about to receive his purple heart for his extraordinary act of bravery. He neutralized a terrorist who stabbed a Yeshiva student and saved the life of the victim.”

Intrigued, the pharmacist asked when this event happened, as her own son, Chananel Jerufi, was a yeshiva student who had been recently stabbed by a terrorist and saved by a soldier. It turned out that the son of the patron had indeed saved the life of the son of the pharmacist.

The mother of the soldier then turned to the pharmacist and said: “The truth is that my son, the soldier, is really also your son.

Twenty years ago, I entered this pharmacy preparing for an abortion. The two of us entered into a conversation and I told you that after three daughters, I was afraid I would have another girl when I really wanted a son. You refused to hear of it and encouraged me to celebrate another daughter if that is what I was having. You promised me that you would adopt her if need be. You persuaded me to keep the child. You also encouraged me to write a letter to the Rebbe and seek his blessing which I duly received.

In the end, a son was born to me. He grew up and enlisted in the IDF. It is this son that saved the life of your son!”

This incredible story, widely advertised in Israel, exhibits the wondrous power of giving. Though one might think that the more we give the less we have, the truth is that sharing with others is the greatest investment we can make for ourselves as well.

In the Torah Portion of Vayera, we’re introduced to what is perhaps the only surviving site that is mentioned in the Torah. The Torah tells us that the cities of Sodom and Gemora were “exceedingly wicked”—these wealthy cities had laws prohibiting any form of kindness to strangers or hospitality to travelers, punishable by the pain of death. Unfortunately, Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family lived there. When two angels arrived to destroy these wicked cities, they rescued Lot, his wife, and two daughters, before turning the cities of the plain into the most lifeless place on Earth: The Dead Sea.

As Lot and his family were escaping, the angels instructed them not to look behind them. They were being saved in the merit of Abraham and thus were unworthy of witnessing the destruction of their fellow citizens. Lot’s wife was unable to contain her curiosity and turned around. As she did so, the Torah tells us that she turned into a “Pillar of Salt.” Interestingly, there is a strange Pillar of Salt on the southwestern banks of the Dead Sea which is popularly known as “Eshet Lot” (the wife of Lot). Nearby is a luxury spa hotel called the “Lot Hotel.”

Why would G-d inflict such a peculiar punishment on Lot’s poor wife? After all, she merely looked back. What’s the first thing that you do when someone tells you not to look somewhere? And why is this the only Biblical landmark that endures until this very day?

The key to understanding this narrative lies in the Torah’s words of how she looked back. Instead of saying that she simply turns around, the Torah says that “she looked behind Lot”. The Midrash explains that Lot and his wife had had a great debate about hospitality and philanthropy. Lot who was raised in the home of his righteous uncle yearned to help others. His wife, who hailed from the evil city of Sodom, despised such giving. She felt that charity was nothing more than an epic waste of hard-earned money. Her “looking behind Lot” represents her second-guessing her husband’s charitable efforts.

When the two angels arrived in Sodom the night before disguised as ordinary men, Lot was quick to shelter them in his home. When he asked his wife to serve them a meal, she gleefully asked her neighbors for some salt to feed her guests. Thus, the cat was let out of the bag and a riot ensued outside their home.

Anne Frank famously said that “no one has ever become poor by giving,” but many of us identify with Lot’s wife as we struggle to justify the sums that we donate to charity.

This is why G-d taught Lot’s wife a lesson through salt and allowed it to endure to serve as an eternal lesson for us all until this very day. On its own, salt is bitter and impossible to eat. But when mixed into other foods, it brings out the best of flavors. Even more incredible, it actually preserves the foods into which it is mixed, greatly extending their shelf life!

Charity needs to be redefined as a long-term investment instead of as a short-term expenditure. The idea behind this is that the moment that you give to others, you are fulfilling G-d’s command and effectively making Him your partner! Since the Master of the Universe has yet to bounce a check, you are safely in good hands and ready for the free flow of G-d’s grace towards you!

Hence the Talmud in Kesubos 66b rules that “Melech Mamon Chesed”—one who wishes to preserve his wealth as salt preserves meat should give some away to charity: Just as salting the meat causes it to become a little smaller, yet preserves it, the act of Tzedaka (charity) might diminish your wealth somewhat, but it will ensure that what you have endures for a very long time!

Countless members of our Shul have told me in different ways how supporting our Chabad center has brought them blessings that they could never have envisioned. Even financially, our donors often report windfall profits that they attribute to their investment in G-d’s business!

We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give. The happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more!

Let’s use kindness as a catalyst for successful business!

Rabbi Dovid Vigler
Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens

6100 PGA Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418 | 561.624.2223

Instagram @JewishGardens

About the Author
Raised in South Africa, Rabbi Dovid Vigler is the founder and spiritual leader of Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens in Florida. As a gifted orator and creative thinker, he strives to share the beauty and depth of Jewish Mysticism in a clear, conversational and down-to-earth manner. Whether in his popular in-person and written sermons or in his thought provoking Torah classes on social media, he raises his students to new heights by transforming ancient pearls of wisdom into modern solutions to timeless quandaries His weekly Radio Show—The Schmooze—was internationally broadcast on six stations, reaching nearly one hundred thousand listeners weekly for almost a decade. His most recent book, “If G-d is Good, Why Can Life Be So Bad?” is renowned for its unprecedented approach to making timeless Jewish mysticism understandable and relatable even to most uninitiated readers. It is available on Amazon. His inspirational books, seminars, essays and uplifting messages can be found on Follow his daily teachings at
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