Parashat Ki Tissa

Responsible Spending

We can learn a great deal from how the Israelites acquire and spend their money in this Torah portion.

Print this page Print this page

Spending Money to Promote Holiness

This week's parshah reminds us of our obligation to use our gold--our money--in ways that promote holiness. Often we plunder those who labor for our benefit, putting our money in the hands of the few and further damaging the developing countries that provide for us. We might want to find the best value for our money, but the Torah cautions that finding bargains should not be our ultimate aim.

Just as the value of our ancestors' gold was determined by how it was used, the value of our money is determined by how we spend it. We must remember that we have the chance to use our money for holiness by shopping responsibly. We have the opportunity to elevate our money use to a level of the Mishkan.

The task of buying responsibly can seem overwhelming. The production methods used to create the goods we buy are often hidden. And because we cannot ensure that we will always spend all of our money responsibly, we might be tempted to just give up. However, we can each take some steps to ensure that our money is used to promote holiness.

We can buy from farms that utilize sustainable practices, both locally and internationally. We can purchase goods from companies that promote fair wages and reasonable working conditions. We can choose to spend a little more for a greater purpose. Finally, we can educate ourselves about the lives of those in the developing world and learn more about those who produce the goods we consume.

Each of our ancestors brought a gift that contributed to the building of the Mishkan. It was only through their combined contributions that a place of holiness could be established. When we individually take steps toward spending our money responsibly, our actions are joined with the actions of others to create a powerful force for good.

May we use our gold to create a Mishkan in which all people can dwell with God in holiness.

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Erica Seager Asch received ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. She participated in AJWS' Rabbinic School Delegation to El Salvador in 2006.