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ב"ה

GameStop

Friday, 5 February, 2021 - 7:15 am

The army of Reddit investors causing chaos in the markets has mainly been a David vs Goliath storyline. Who wins out and who’s left with losses is above my pay grade.

But, it has highlighted – once again – the financial and cultural classes in our country and world.

The glaring question is, do we occupy two different universes, side by side? Is the spiritual journey of one superior to the other?

One of the most famous commandments of the Torah is the instruction to observe the Sabbath. Shabbat, featured in this week’s parsha, is a sacred Jewish tradition that has--in some form--been embraced by most of the world.

But how does one observe Shabbat?

The Fourth Commandment is unique amongst the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments appear – virtually word for word – in both Exodus Chapter 20 and Deuteronomy Chapter 5. One glaring change is the opening word of the Fourth Commandment. In Exodus we are commanded to, “Remember the Shabbat.” In Deuteronomy we are enjoined to, “Keep the Shabbat.”

Our Sages teach that at Sinai G-d pronounced both words simultaneously. The twofold instruction is due to the dual observance of Shabbat. One part of Shabbat is refraining from creative work to achieve rest. This is keeping the Shabbat. The second element of Shabbat is observed through proactive rituals and celebration – remembering Shabbat.

For some of us – the wealthy in particular – the remembering part of Shabbat comes easier. The delicacies and fine clothing are within easy reach. But the temptation to strike a business deal is huge.

For others – especially the less well-to-do – refraining from work is a pleasure. We don’t have much greater potential to earn on Shabbat anyway, so we look forward to a day of tranquility. But the expense of dressing our best, hosting a lavish meal and ritual trimmings – all seem to add up rather quickly.

Whether we are on Wall Street or on Main Street, the Torah has an important way of reminding us – week in and week out – to shift gears and focus on what’s truly important.

The real GameStop happens every week, when we stop what we are doing and embrace a higher calling.

Whether you are a hedge fund manager, part of the ordinary investor army or sitting on the sidelines, G-d has one perfect day for you to escape the chaos, to enter into an oasis in time.

Let’s celebrate the gift of Shabbat. In this game, everyone is a winner.

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