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In the city of Radomsk lived a Jew who, though a Torah scholar, possessed one objectionable character trait, namely that he loved money. One evening, he was learning in the Beit Midrash (study house) and managed to learn 3 Dapim (double-sided pages) of Gemara in depth! Then the Tzadik Rabbi Shlomo of Radomsk entered the Beit Midrash and, upon seeing the scholar, recited the verse: "…VaVei Ha'Amudim VaCHashukeihem Kasef" = "… the hooks and the decorative bands for the pillars shall be made of silver" (Shemot 27:10). The scholar looked in surprise at Rabbi Shlomo, and the latter explained his insight: "Tonight you have learnt Vav Amudim (6 single-sided pages) of Gemara and yet you're still Chosheik Kasef (longing for money)!" Another story is told of a poor man who, despite his own poverty, would always invite strangers to come into his home and eat a home-cooked meal. His generosity was all the more special due to his own circumstances and, in the merit of these acts of kindness, he was blessed with riches and soon found himself in a large mansion. Now, a change started to occur. Slowly, the poor were no longer welcome in his home. First it was a hint, then a suggestion, finally he would not even let them into his new home lest they spoil the hand-woven white carpets. He was dismissive of their pleas for help, suggesting to them that they should work harder. As news of his mean behavior spread, he soon found himself shunned by his former friends and colleagues. In despair, he called upon the wise old Rabbi. As they were talking in the mansion, the Rabbi pointed to a huge mirror situated on the wall facing the street, feigning ignorance: "What a strange window! All I see is myself! Where are all the people on the street?" The man laughed: "Rabbi it is not a window; it is a mirror." "But I don't understand", said the Rabbi, "it's made of glass, like a window." "If it were only glass, you would be able to see the other people. But this is a mirror. It has a layer of silver added to it. Now you only see yourself." "Aha!" said the wise Rabbi. "Now I see the problem. When you add the silver, all you see is yourself!" There is nothing wrong with having material wealth as long as it is used in the appropriate manner. Objects that would seem to be very luxurious and materialistic can also be used for the service of God. Anything used in the correct manner may be elevated and utilized for holiness, for spiritual purposes. The Lubavitcher Rebbe once visited a summer camp where he saw a notice in the office stating "Money is the root of all evil". The Rebbe commented that the sign was incorrect. Money, like anything else, may be used for good or for bad purposes. It all depends on the person using it. It is within our power, through the use of physical items in this physical world, to draw the Divine into our own everyday lives. In the process, we will find ourselves experiencing a new dimension of purpose and meaning within our lives.

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