Friday, May 18, 2012

The Torah's way to getting some stock @ Facebook

How much is your Facebook account worth? Based on the initial public offering of $38 a share, which values FB at $104 billion - each of the 900 million profiles is worth about $115. Investors, naturally, buy for the long-term (never for a fast buck!), betting that in the future, the company's value will only grow. But what if the future is a bumpy one? Well for starters, Mr Zuckerberg (not yet a Saatchi member) is cutting his salary to just one dollar a year. So that might help. But this week we read some of the Torah’s thoughts on a safe economy. First there is the Shemitah, or Sabbatical y ear, during which no work is to be done in the land and all produce is free for all to take. No work. No income. "You may sow your field for six years, and for six years you may prune your vineyard, and gather in its produce, But in the seventh year, the land shall have a complete shall not sow your field, nor shall you prune your vineyard." But how can you survive without income, without the fruits of your wineyard?
Fear not: the Torah asks the same thing. After issuing all the rules and regulations for the Sabbatical year, it tells us: "And if you should say, "What will we eat in the seventh year? We will not sow, and we will not gather in our produce!"." The commentators struggle. The Torah is clearly addressing the doubters and those concerned how they will survive when there is no business. Why then does it wait to address this valid concern until after its set out the rules? The Lubavitch Rebbe explains. The verse here uses the term VeKi tomeru, and when you should ask, not Im tomru, if they ask. No, the Torah is not addressing the doubters' questions about where we will get our food from, and who they should rely upon. Rather, the Torah is answering a practical concern - about survival when the land rests. This then is G-d's timeless response, which can serve as a lesson for us and those concerned with austerity matters and recession: "I will command My blessing for you in the sixth year, and it will yield produce for three years. And you will sow in the eighth year, while [still] eating from the old crops until the ninth year; until the arrival of its crop, you will eat the old [crop]. May we all be blessed with stable jobs, healthy incomes and may G-d provide for us all (and perhaps throw in some Facebook shares to boot).

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