Monday, June 8, 2009

Safe Investments

Years ago, a certain Jewish investment broker went out of business. Sadly, he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of other people’s money, often their entire life’s savings. Unfortunately, some avreichim also invested every cent they had based on this man’s assurances and became destitute with the loss. Many people felt pained by the predicament of these bnei Torah, since some had large families and absolutely no means of supporting them.
But when Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, heard about this he was very upset at their foolishness. “Chazal in Bava Metzia 42 tell us what we should do with any capital we have. A third of the money should be left liquid, a third in land, and a third in an investment. Clearly, one should never sink it all into one place for this very reason.
“Although one who violates a rabbinical prohibition is a sinner, it is definitely possible that one who stubbornly refuses to listen to chazal’s advice is worse. How could they have felt they were smarter than chazal? These people are learned and surely knew chazal’s advice. It would be a good idea to check into their ideological leanings!”
Rav Elchonon Wasserman, zt”l, would say from the Chofetz Chaim, zt”l: “If a person is in a quandary regarding what to do he may be shocked to hear that he can ask Hashem. ‘What? How is that possible?’ the astounded person would likely reply. But you can tell him that in addition to the mitzvos and aveiros recorded and explained in the Torah, we also find advice regarding all the important issues of life.
“For example, regarding money chazal tell us to split what one has to invest into three portions. One is not obligated to do this, since it is just advice, but it is the tried and tested advice of chazal to ensure that one does not lose everything he has.”
Rav Elchonon would add, “If one person tells his fried that his face is dirty and another person says that his face is really clean, the confused man would surely seek out a mirror to see for himself. The Torah is our mirror. When one has questions the first thing he should do is look at what the Torah says!”

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