There is a passage in this week’s Torah portion with which we are all familiar: “Man does not live by bread alone.”
No, life is about much more than what we achieve or accumulate. I think that we all realize that we are rich to the degree to which we appreciate those blessings of our lives for which we take no amount of money.
One of our great sages, Maimonides, contended that the challenge of life is to rise above our drives and impulses, and strive to cultivate inner qualities of awareness and gratitude. Another sage, Rabbi Nachman, suggested that every person should make time each day to walk in a forest or be amidst nature so that he/she might contemplate the truths and blessings of life.
We live in a society that places so much emphasis upon achievement and the accumulation of things. Ours is not a society that emphasizes gratitude and contemplation of the blessings that fill our lives and that we too often take for granted. No, it’s not about how much “bread” we can acquire and consume. A rich life is about gratitude and reaching beyond yourselves with the realization that there is holiness in deeds of generosity and sharing ourselves with others. So true: “Man does not live by bread alone.”