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The Battle of the Generation - Day 60

Our weekly excerpt from the book "The Battle of the Generation"

A wealthy man once came to Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita, and asked him, “I am so wealthy that money is no issue at all. Can I buy a fancy car, or must I be concerned that people will be jealous of me?”

Rav Chaim responded, “Are you fluent in shas?”

“No,” the man answered.

“Have you even learned through shas?”

“Unfortunately, I have not.”

“Is there a masechta of gemara that you know cold?”

“No.”

“Do you know at least a perek of gemara inside out?”

“No Rebbe, I can’t say that I do.”

“Is there at least one page of gemara that you know well?”

“No.”

Rav Chaim told the man, “If so, go buy the car. Nobody will be jealous of you.”

This story demonstrates the clarity of a great person on what matters in life. Serving Hashem is the only thing that makes a difference. In the long run, everything else is meaningless.

If we lack spiritual accomplishments, what do we have? Fancy possessions are unimpressive. If everyone drools at the gifts Hashem gave us because they don’t understand life, we must not let it get to our heads. We know that our gifts don’t make us superior to anyone. We must repeatedly remind ourselves that these things just aren’t significant. Otherwise, we will be affected by what others think.

If it is hard for us to appreciate this, we should think about what will matter when we die. In the next world, everyone will know what’s important. None of our possessions will matter. All everyone will care about forever is our spiritual accomplishments.

Having the wrong perspective on what’s important causes arrogance. By reminding ourselves of these truths, we will remember what matters and not grow arrogant because of our possessions.