Let Them Eat Gold
The closest I ever come to consuming gold happens around this time of year if I am too eager during my Chanukah gelt partakage and don’t quite get the wrapper off in time for my first bite. But apparently, there are now some people who are trying to eat gold on purpose: A restaurant in New Year City has recently started serving a $25,000 dessert made up of 28 rare and exotic cocoas from around the world, whipped cream, black truffle shavings, and 23 karat edible gold.
I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that something’s not right if you have so much money to spare that you’ve begun eating it. Yes, it’s true, I did grow up watching Scrooge McDuck on Duck Tales swim through his trove of gold coins, wishing it were me, but I was a child and it was a cartoon.
Now Judaism believes that you should enjoy yourself in this world. In fact, it says in the Jerusalem Talmud that if a person refuses to partake of the (kosher) physical pleasures that are offered to him here, he will be held accountable for it when he dies.
But with money as with all materialism, there’s an appropriate way to utilize it so that we both enjoy it on a physical level and at the same time elevate it spiritually. For example, according to Jewish thought, it’s OK to have a large, beautiful home if you fill it with guests and use the space that you’ve been blessed with to somehow help others.
Which brings us back to the gold eaters – if the Jewish ideal is to find a way to infuse materialism with spirituality in order to raise it up, then consuming, digesting, and evacuating it most certainly sends it in the wrong direction.