13 Apr 2017

Money, Manna and Matza


3 Tools to Decompress Financial Stress

MoneyDo you worry about money? Do you spend precious energy in that worrying? I’d venture to say yes. We’re largely worried and secretive about our finances.

Here’s an example: I speak with women who are having challenges in finding their soulmate. They want to get married but somehow are moving from one long term relationship to another. What interests me is that many of these women are comfortable sharing a bed with their partner, sharing their body – the vessel and temple that houses their soul – and yet…they don’t share a bank account. Or even info as to how much the account in question holds. As if to say, “My finances are verboten but you can have my body for free.”

But I digress. I’m not focusing on money and intimacy here. My point at this point is that our financial frontier, despite all we say to the contrary, is in many respects our last stronghold. Why?

One of the things I’ve learned from Kabbalah, life and mentorship is that everything has a reason! If we’re focused on something it’s because there’s a powerful spiritual backdrop. The biggies – food, sexuality and money – have a hold on us because at their root they are vital spiritual forces.1: Emotions, not facts, generally drive our responses to money

Years ago, I wrote an article called, “Are you a Fallen Heiress?” It was about the Golden Calf. To quote myself:

Emotions, not facts, drive our responses to money; and our assessment of our personal financial situation often reveals little of what the facts on the ground are.  Instead they reveal much about our inner state and way of relating to the world…(As Paul Auster says in Hand to Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure) “Money, of course, is never just money. It’s always something else, and it’s always something more, and it always has the last word.”

Most often we can’t find our way out of our challenges because we don’t have accurate maps. Once you know that there’s a backdrop, you can pay attention to it and tend to the underlying, driving emotions and beliefs. So as a prelude to attending to your finances, examine your feelings and beliefs about money. Which brings me to my second point.

2: Those emotions are themselves driven by Faith – or the lack of it

Essentially, our deficiency is not money. The deficiency is not even our emotions. It is our faith in G-d. We worry about money because we lack sufficient faith. A brief examination of the etymological source of the word “money” attests to this. (If this gets a little wordy for you, check out the PDF below that tabulates the Hebrew words discussed in this section.)

The Roman goddess Juno[1] was the goddess of fertility and wealth. She was the protector of funds. As such money in ancient Rome was coined in her temple. She was described as Juno Moneta. According to many opinions therein lies the root of the word money. In fact, in Italian moneta is the word for “coin.” And in America, the figure of Moneta was depicted with treasure chests on the front of an 1861 Cofederate States of America $50 banknote. We also find the Syriac Mamone, the Syrian god of riches. But it turns out that the root etymology of “money” is Hebraic:

  • The Aramaic word for money is mamon, originally from Mishnaic Hebrew.
  • Mamon in turn shares a root with the word moneh which means to count.
  • These words in turn be boiled down to man as in the manna the People of Israel ate during their wanderings in the desert.

Turns out that “putting bread on the table,” “having dough” and other associations between money and food are directly traceable to their original Hebrew.

What though does all this linguistics have to do with our emotional wellbeing and abundance mentality?

The words tell us we’re caught up in counting. Counting many individual, isolated Things. Bottom up, our world looks like a place of duality. There appear to be many distinct forces governing all the details. Which leaves us feeling vulnerable and needing to compensate for all the happenstance and iffyness we perceive. We do that by accumulating more and more of the disparate stuff, of the things we can count. The words hint to us that if we don’t get to the core Force that underlies and unifies all the “stuff”, we will always – always, always – be left counting and yearning for more of it.

The bottom-up perspective of duality doesn’t capture the full truth of the way things are. The truth of reality is that there’s one Unifying Source from which everything else emerges. That force is G-d. In Hebrew the word “faith” is Emunah. It is comprised of the first letter of the alphabet (Alef, numerical value 1) plus the word man, “manna” (read “money.”) In other words, faith is defined as trusting in the One Who Counts and Unifies Everything.

It is in this trust that we find true meaning which we can then apply to our lives. Our essential manna from heaven is not food per se, but faith, our faith in the one G-d. Our trust in the One G-d means we are aware of G-d in our lives. That truth is our true wealth.

3: Faith frees us up to manifest and heal

When we allow ourselves our faith, we realize freedom from our worries. Being supported by G-d means we are no longer depleting ourselves of our soul energy. It thus allows us to manifest our energy in this world in the best possible way. We become free. When we’re free of worry, we have more energy to be creative and contribute in a positive manner.

This connection between faith and healing brings me to the holiday of Passover. The holiday meal is best known for the matzah that Jews eat. The matzah is reminiscent of the haste in which the People of Israel left Egypt and of the manna with which they were sustained in the desert. The mystics teach that the matzah of the first night of Passover is “Bread of Faith.” That of the second night is “Bread of Healing.”

In a compilation of teachings called “Day by Day” the Lubavitcher Rebbe quotes his father-in-law:

“On the first night, matza is the “bread of faith.” On the second night it is the “bread of healing.” When healing leads to faith (in that a person says, “I thank you G-d for my recovery”) he was nevertheless sick. But when faith generates healing a person was not sick in the first place.”

In other words, when we begin with the deep inner work of faith, matters of health and sustenance become clarified. As we bring trust in the one G-d into our lives, or as we now see on all American paper money, “In G-d We Trust,” we realize our faith in a G-d who knows everything, who counts everything. We can have confidence that G-d counts our good work. He sees our honest and meaningful efforts in life. Our reality and inner purpose shines with meaning, a reflection of the light on G-d within. We can have conviction in knowing our efforts “count.” There is no need for worry.


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The Meaning of Money Handout



[1] Her Greek equivalent is Hera.