Yaakov said (Gen 33.11):

... כִּי־חַנַּנִי אֱלֹהִים וְכִי יֶשׁ־לִי־כֹל ...׃
... for God has favored me and I have everything...


יש לי כל: כָּל סִפּוּקִי; וְעֵשָׂו דִּבֵּר בִּלְשׁוֹן גַּאֲוָה יֶשׁ לִי רָב, יוֹתֵר וְיוֹתֵר מִכְּדֵי צָרְכִּי:
I HAVE EVERYTHING — all that will supply my needs. But Esau spoke proudly (v. 8): I have (רב) abundance — far more than my needs.

Yaakov claims that he has everything he needs, but in fact, we see that he has way over his physiological needs - so he boasts to Eisov in ver 32.6:

וַיְהִי־לִי שׁוֹר וַחֲמוֹר צֹאן וְעֶבֶד וְשִׁפְחָה וָאֶשְׁלְחָה לְהַגִּיד לַאדֹנִי לִמְצֹא־חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ׃
I have acquired cattle, asses, sheep, and male and female slaves; and I send this message to my lord in the hope of gaining your favor.’”

While to some, capitalists, this question might sound strange, after all, we strive to maximize our holding relying on the belief that this is the true expression of G-d's love and affirmation to our deeds (based on what the Torah says "and G-d blessed Avraham with everything", namely he was crazy rich), but I do believe everything G-d does is on purpose and I seek this mysterious purpose in the fact that the forefathers were loaded way over their (physical) needs.

I couldn't find where this wealth was truly useful or used to do Mitzvos or let them study the Torah peacefully (i.g. the tribes went 100 miles to graze sheep in Shechem instead of learning Torah in "tents of Shem and Ever").

What is the reason the forefathers were granted with far more wealth they physically needed?

  • To do cheesed with that money (just like every other rich person in history).
    – Mordechai
    Dec 14, 2019 at 21:55
  • @Mordechai Examples of such chessed the patriarchs did with their fortune?
    – Al Berko
    Dec 15, 2019 at 13:53
  • @AlBerko Your presumption that the Torah promises great, excessive wealth is more an expression of your own values than that of the Torah. Consider the language of the Shema. ואכלת ושבעת doesn’t imply excess. It means enough to be sated, meaning to ‘put an end to desire’. Similarly in the blessing for the year, ושבענו מטובך. And the language of the 3rd blessing in Birkat HaMazone, ונא אל תצריכנו...לא לידי מתנת בשר ודם ולא לידי הלואתם. The promise is one of self-reliance. That we can recognize that G-d provides all our needs directly. We see how G-d provides for all of His creations. Dec 15, 2019 at 14:20
  • In the case of Avraham, he had a huge number of employees and his entourage (the converts that he and Sarah made) which he provided for. And if you recall from the midrash, he only charged at his hotel if the guests refused to acknowledge G-d’s providence at the conclusion of the meal. Otherwise, they ate for free. In other words, Avraham is an intermediary, a shaliach, distributing G-d’s material blessings while encouraging others to acknowledge G-d’s presence & Kingship in all things. Dec 15, 2019 at 14:35
  • @alberko וישחוט בן בקר רך וטוב, three calves for three toungs (gemara b"m)
    – Mordechai
    Dec 15, 2019 at 19:53

1 Answer 1


חיי מוהר"ן כה:ג

הָעוֹלָם אוֹמְרִים כִּי הַצַּדִּיק הָאֱמֶת הַמֻּפְלָג בְּמַעֲלָה אֵין צָרִיךְ לְמָעוֹת הַרְבֵּה כִּי לָמָּה לוֹ מָעוֹת וַאֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ הִתְבּוֹנְנוּת כָּזֶה שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לָזֶה כָּל הוֹן דְּעָלְמָא

Life of Rabbi Nachman Me-Bresztlav 25:3

The world says that the righteous man, that has high virtues does not need a lot of money, because, why does he need money, and I say that there is such an insight, that he will need the entire world's fortune.

ליקוטי מוהר"ן קמא

דַּע שֶׁיֵּשׁ שְׁבִילֵי הַתּוֹרָה, שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶם הִתְבּוֹנְנוּת גָּדוֹל מְאֹד. שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לָבוֹא לַהִתְבּוֹנְנוּת הַזֹּאת, כִּי - אִם עַל - יְדֵי עֲשִׁירוּת... שֶׁיִּהְיֶה לוֹ הוֹן רַב... כִּי צָרִיךְ כָּל הוֹן דְּעָלְמָא, לַהִתְבּוֹנְנוּת הַזֹּאת. ... וְעַל כֵּן מׂשֶׁה וְכָל הַנְּבִיאִים הָיָה לָהֶם עֲשִׁירוּת גָּדוֹל מְאֹד, כְּדֵי לָבוֹא עַל יָדוֹ לַהִתְבּוֹנְנוּת הַזֹּאת. וּמֵחֲמַת שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּהַתּוֹרָה הִתְבּוֹנְנוּת הַזֹּאת, עַל כֵּן נִקְרֵאת הַתּוֹרָה הוֹן. וְכֵן כָּל מִי שֶׁעָבַר דֶּרֶךְ יָדָם הַתּוֹרָה, הָיָה לָהֶם עֲשִׁירוּת גָּדוֹל מְאֹד. דְּהַיְנוּ מׂשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ שֶׁהֵבִיא הַתּוֹרָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, הָיָה עָשִׁיר גָּדוֹל ... וְכֵן רַבִּי שֶׁסִּדֵּר וְחָתַם הַמִּשְׁנַיּוֹת, וְכֵן רַב אַשֵׁי שֶׁהָיָה חֲתִימַת הַתַּלְמוּד, וְסִדֵּר אֶת כָּל הַתַּלְמוּד, שֶׁגַּם - כֵּן הָיוּ עֲשִׁירִים גְּדוֹלִים מְאֹד

Know, that there are paths in in Tora, with great insights, and [one] can't reach this insight, but by being very rich... [he] need the entire world's fortune. That's why Moses and the prophets were very rich, to get this insight, and because this insight exists, the Tora is called "fortune", and whoever the Tora passes by him, was very rich. Moshe that gave the Tora, and Rabbi who edited the Mishna, And Rav Ashi whi edited the Talmud, were very rich...

  • Something's missing at the end - " he will need the entire world's fortune..." for what? in order to what? Does the fortune give an insight?
    – Al Berko
    Dec 15, 2019 at 13:52
  • @AlBerko Edited Dec 16, 2019 at 8:42

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