Does Our Behavior Match Our Priorities?

Pekudei: A resource for families.


Reprinted with permission from Torah Topics for Today.

Most of us worry about money fairly often in our lives, especially when we have children. What offsets this worry is accountability and consciousness of the way we choose to spend our money. What we spend our money on reflects our priorities, and it is important that our behavior matches our priorities. Otherwise, there might be too little in the bank when it’s time to pay for college!
In Pekudei, our parashah of the week, each person in the community owes a half shekel, reflecting the high priority placed on community by the Israelites. Moreover, accountability is evident in the detailed description of the way that half shekel is to be used in the sanctuary.
piggy bank
It is a difficult challenge to instill accountability in our children in the context of our materialistic, consumption-focused society. One way to begin is to give children a modest weekly allowance, starting at five or six years of age. Encourage them to think about how much they will spend and how much they will save. To emphasize the importance of saving, take them with you to the bank to open a savings account. Perhaps this will motivate them to save a little bit each week, either for something big that they can pay for themselves or simply to save money for their future. 
TALK TO YOUR KIDS about clarifying their priorities and aligning their spending habits with those priorities.
·  How do you feel when you spend money?
·  Are you conscious of the value of money in meeting your priorities?
·  What are other ways to realize your priorities without spending money?

© Copyright 2011 Joyce and Fred Claar

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Dianne Cohler-Esses is the first Syrian Jewish woman to be ordained as a rabbi. She was ordained in 1995 at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is currently a freelance educator and writer, teaching and writing about a wide range of Jewish subjects. She lives in New York City with her journalist husband and their three children.

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