Mendy Kaminker

Which would you choose: 1 dollar or 1 million?

You are presented with two envelopes. One contains a dollar. The other, a check for $1 million.
Which would you choose?
Silly question, you probably say. Of course, you would choose the envelope with the million dollars.
Now what if, together with the million dollar, you would suffer a disease that, while it is treatable, would cost you $999,999 in medical expenses. What would you choose now?
Silly question, you probably say again. Who needs the million dollars if it would be wasted on medical expenses? Give me just one dollar and save me from the extra money and extra headaches!
This is a common sense idea, often overlooked. Every blessing needs another blessing to protect it. Receiving a blessing – of any kind – is terrific, but we want the other blessing too, to ensure that the blessing is not wasted.
Perhaps this the origin to one famous Yiddish Phrase. When someone buys a new garment, in addition to congratulating them on the purchase, we say “Nutz gezunterheit” (use it in good health) or “Nutz gezunterheit un freilicherheit” (use it in good health and happiness). The purchase was a blessing that requires an additional blessing.
And perhaps, the Yiddish language came up with this idea from our weekly Parsha.
Quite in the middle of the Parsha – the longest Torah portion of the year! – We read about Birkat Kohanim, the priestly blessing.
Here is the first verse of the blessing:
“May the L-rd bless you and watch over you”.
Rashi explains that “bless you” is the blessing of wealth, and “watch over you” is the blessing that wealth should only be used for good purposes.
Our lives are filled with blessings of all sizes. It might be the blessing of earning a living, the ability to purchase stuff we need, or even to go on vacation.
All those blessings need more blessings with them. We want to make sure that our money is spent for good reasons, that our new stuff is used in health and happiness, and that our vacation is indeed rejuvenating.
One great way to achieve this is to add a G-dly element to everything we do.
When we earn a living, we should act honestly and refrain from working on Shabbat and holidays; when we buy something, we can use the opportunity to support sellers who need it most; and when we go on holiday, we can get Kosher food (and, of course, visit a Chabad House:)).
May we all have many blessings in our lives, and may all our blessings be further blessed!
About the Author
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the Chabad Rabbi of Hackensack, and an editorial member of
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