Money is Spiritual, with Rabbi Daniel Lapin
Money is often confused, misunderstood, and classified as part of our basic, natural, carnal human nature. But money is spiritual. Understanding, earning, using, managing, and growing money is a part of our lives that is deeply spiritual. Rabbi Lapin knows this, and shares his wisdom about money far and wide.
Today, Rabbi Daniel Lapin explains why, and how you can improve your finances with this one simple mindset shift. Tune in now to join the conversation!
Table of contents
[3:45] “You’re only a slave to money when you don’t have the money.”
On Redistributing Wealth
[6:48] “The one problem is that we don’t have a successful model anywhere in history to go on. You know, when has this approach to economics actually worked? When and where? Oh, nowhere at no time? Well then, I recommend you be extremely cautious about applying something to the lives of three hundred million people that hasn’t been successfully done anywhere. That’s one huge problem. The other huge problem is that redistribution or equality is just a really nice word for a really ugly idea, which is taking money away from people who own it. And that’s really a fundamental value of all morality. We really have to decide: Do you or do you not agree with the statement that nobody else has a right to any money that you have made?”
[8:00] “Something that’s really worthwhile [for people to understand] is that the government can only get money by taking it from the people who have made it. The government has no way to create wealth. The government can print money, but that’s just another way of taking it away from productive people, it’s called inflation. And so, no, there is no way for the government to give you money other than taking it away from other people.”
Money Is Spiritual: The Spiritual Attributes of Money
When something is physical, as Rabbi Lapin shares, you can measure it in a lab. It’s real and tangible. When something is spiritual, it’s felt. You cannot measure it in any scientific way. And yet, the affects of spirituality can be observed. While money may have physical uses, it also has spiritual significance, because it can transcend physical results.
[16:44] “Each and every one of us can benefit financially by understanding the spiritual implications of what money really is.”
When you give someone cash, there’s a physical connection between the value of the money and the work that went into earning that money. It helps others, like children, understand the true significance of what they have, and its spiritual value. Credit cards and digital payments separate us from the value and work that went into those dollars and can make it difficult for kids to understand and appreciate them.
[20:09] “I always made a point of walking around with more cash than I ordinarily would, simply because I wanted to make sure that if I needed to give money to a child for any legitimate purpose, it was always in cash.”
[22:57] “Money is brought into being when one human being serves another. There is no other way of money being created. And people must really understand that if the government prints money, that’s really not the creation of money at all.”
The Exception, Not the Rule
Of course, one of the arguments against the “money is spiritual” idea is that bad people have money too. To this, Rabbi Lapin shares a story about the time he met the actor George Burns. The actor smoked a few cigars a day and was in good health. The conclusion that some people might draw is that you can be perfectly healthy by smoking cigars. However, George was clearly the exception, not the rule. There’s plenty of evidence that it’s not good for you.
Money is the same way. The creation of money is a spiritual endeavor. When bad people have lots of money, that’s not evidence that money is bad. It’s the exception to the rule. And in most cases, those people are still providing a service that is good in some way, which is why they make money.
[35:17] “More than ten percent of my book, Thou Shall Prosper, is devoted to shattering that incredibly destructive spiritual schematic—that making money either labels me as a less-than-good person or that making money is going to end up being a huge problem for me.”
One of the first ways to get rid of this spiritual schematic is to unlearn that making money is synonymous with bad behavior. Making money is not ripping people off, nor is it taking money. Making money is providing value to other people and enriching their lives, and being rewarded for doing so.
When Should You Teach Children About Money?
A listener asked the question: At what age should you teach children about money? And Rabbi Lapin joked that the correct age is negative three-quarters. In other words, at conception.
[50:28] “One of the reasons that we Jews believe that God gave us nine months instead… [of] two days after conception? Because we need time to prepare, and part of the preparation is for [the] father and mother to be on the same page. And that can take a few months to get right.”
As he shares, the education of your child begins with the conversations between mother and father. So while your child may not be born yet, it’s the perfect time to get clear on things. And from birth on, everything you do is teaching your children about money.
How Do You Price Your Services?
[58:42] “The answer is really very simple and not at all complicated. You have to price your goods and services at the figure that gives you the highest revenue. If you make your price low, then you’re going to get more customers… then if you raise your price you’ll have fewer people but they’ll all be paying more. And whether x or y is bigger will tell you which direction to go.”
Rabbi shares that people most commonly get hung up on the idea of “fair” pricing, which leads back to the idea that money is about taking and not making. You must root out this mindset and recognize that what you can offer is valuable to someone. By offering your service, you’re not taking money, you’re making it.
Fairness and morality are already built into our economy because if the price is too high, nobody will purchase your services. So you reevaluate. It’s as simple as that. Eventually, you’ll arrive at a price that people will pay, even if it’s outside of some people’s budgets. Or, as stated above, you might make more revenue with a lower price if you have a high volume of customers. Whatever you do, make sure that you’re able to profit.
About Rabbi Lapin
Rabbi Daniel Lapin, author, speaker, and TV host immigrated to the United States from South Africa after studying mathematics, physics, and economics in Israel and the United Kingdom.
Some of his seven books are America’s Real War, Business Secrets from the Bible, and Thou Shall Prosper-The Ten Commandments for Making Money, all of which have been translated into Chinese and Korean.
Rabbi Lapin is a frequent speaker for trade groups, political, and civic organizations, financial conferences, and companies in the US, Europe, and Asia. He regularly guests on radio and television shows. Newsweek magazine included him in its first list of America’s fifty most influential rabbis. His weekly podcast now enjoys over 100,000 downloads, as do his weekly columns.
With his wife Susan, he hosts the daily TCT television show Ancient Jewish Wisdom. An enthusiastic boater who has sailed his family across the Pacific in their own boat, the Lapins, who home-schooled their seven children, live in Maryland. His website is www.YouNeedaRabbi.com
Connect with Rabbi Lapin
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