I receive a lot of emails from people who want to share interesting articles with me. A few week ago I received an email which immediately caught my attention. The subject heading was “How much are you worth?” The opening line in the email asked readers to take the quiz below and find out how much they are worth.
I began taking the quiz and it had various categories that each had numerous questions within that category. These included topics of athletic ability, education level, and income, frequency of exercise, weight and even sense of humour!
Well, I was pleased when the results appeared and apparently I am worth $2.6 million! I am not sure my accountant would agree but I’ll take it!
Amazingly there is a connection from this email to our Parsha this week, Parshat Bechukotai.
The Torah tells us, in the days of the Temple, if someone wanted to donate the value of a person to the Temple, there was a formula to calculate how much they would need to pay. The Torah lists the various age brackets and their values. Now whilst this was simply a mechanism to assist the person knowing the “price” he or she needed to pay, I believe there is also a deeper explanation which contains the true value of a person.
I am a fan of Gematria (computing the numerical value of words) and if one calculates the total of the male figures it totals 90 and the female figures totals 53.
90 gives us the words Tzadik and 53 gives us the word Gan (garden in Hebrew).
The Torah is teaching us something very profound in relation to evaluating your true worth.
The first is to ask ourselves where we stand in relation to the value of Tzadik – righteousness.
Is my behaviour just? Do I act with honesty and integrity? It is asking us to look internally. When no one else is around, when there are no cameras pointed in our direction, what are the values and morals that I hold dear. If we can answer in the affirmative that we are people of integrity and honesty then that is the first yardstick in relation to our value.
The garden represents calmness, beauty and the external attitude. How do I behave around others? Is my behaviour friendly, caring, kind and considerate? Am I creating an inviting “garden”, one of warmth and tranquillity? Or is it perhaps filled with weeds and unappealing?
There is a story told of two brothers , Shimon and Levi, embroiled in a fight over the inheritance of a field.
Standing on the field in question they summoned Rabbi Chaim Viloshin to assist in adjudicating their case. “It’s my field” said Shimon. “No, it’s my field” said Levi, arguing to the point of real animosity!
Suddenly Chaim Viloshin, put his ear to the ground and the two brothers thought he had lost the plot.
Questioning his greatness the brothers wondered what he was doing.
Reb Chaim replied that each were claiming the field belonged to them. He was unsure who was correct so he thought he would ask the field directly. The field informed Reb Chaim that it too was unsure but knew one thing for certainty. One day both brothers would belong to the field! This clearly shocked both brother and they realised their behaviour was inappropriate and found a way to share the land.
So how much is a person worth? Well that depends on how well they have been working on their Tzadik and Gan, their internal honesty and integrity and their external kindness and caring towards others!
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and a wonderful weekend!