You Didn’t Write This D’var Torah

This Shabbat I was struck by the timeliness of part of this week’s Torah reading. The passage begins with the verse familiar from the birkat hamazon – grace after meals. “You will eat your fill, and you will bless.” It might seem natural to be thankful for our physical comforts, but Moses realized that human nature is to blame others for your misfortune but take credit for your success.  

Beware … lest when thou hast eaten and art satisfied, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied  … and thou say in thy heart: ‘My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth.’

Governor Mitt Romney has certain “built goodly houses”. His silver and gold has multiplied to the point where his IRA is worth $21 to $102 million despite a $30,000 annual cap on deposits. Yet he resents having to pay any taxes to our country which made his success possible criticizing Obama for saying:

If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

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