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Jason Hartman and co-host Rabbi Evan Moffic and author of The Happiness Prayer: Ancient Jewish Wisdom for the Best Way to Live Today discuss the Bible and wealth. They demonstrate why the Bible promotes wealth and what we should do with it. How we use our wealth reflects our true happiness.
Welcome to the Solomon Success Show where we explore the timeless wisdom of King Solomon and the Bible as it relates to business and investing false prophets and get rich quick schemes are everywhere. Let’s not be distracted by these. Instead, let’s go to the source, the eternal principles that create a life of peace, power and prosperity. Here’s our host, Jason Hartman.
Jason Hartman 0:32
It’s my pleasure to welcome Rabbi Evan Moffat to the show. He is the author of several books including the happiness prayer, ancient Jewish wisdom, for the best way to live today. Evan, welcome. How are you? I’m great, Jason, how are you? Good, good. It’s good to have you. And this is a bit of an impromptu interview. I have to say we connected a few days ago. And you told me you were coming to look at one of the properties you’re buying through our network. I didn’t realize you are an author and you are First Rabbi client, I believe. So that’s just awesome. And so you have a lot to say about the scriptures and what they can teach us about happiness, of course, and prosperity actually as well, right? Absolutely. I mean, what one of the things, I know a lot of your clients, they’re successful professionals, they’ve perhaps made some money or make a little bit more money. But we’re all looking for kind of happiness, right? And anyone who’s been around the block a few times know that money doesn’t equal happiness. I mean, it’s nice to have, of course, you’d rather be rich than poor, but it’s not the end all and be all right. And by the way, I want to tell you, I’ll second that motion. I just think money gives you a better chance at happiness than poverty. But it does not make you happy. In fact, in some ways, depending on how complicated Your life is money, really, it’s kind of a burden to like, keep it because you become a target. Yeah, you know, that’s kind of how I feel like everyone’s taking Can shots at me, you know, competitors. And it’s a chore? You know, I’ll be the first to admit, but it does allow you a lot of freedom and a lot of choices.
Rabbi Evan Moffic 2:08
Exactly. I mean, people, I’m sure when you were starting off as a realtor, I mean, we haven’t talked about this before, but you were probably successful pretty quickly and pretty young. And I imagine that there were older realtors who’d been in the business who probably were a little jealous, I think generally. Yeah. Huge issues. And that’s just natural human emotion. Yeah,
Jason Hartman 2:27
yeah, it is no question about it. I mean, they used to have it my REMAX office where I work. They used to have meetings about me, all the old jealous realtors who didn’t work very hard. They were thinking that I must be doing something to get all this business, I must be cutting my commission. That’s what they thought I was doing. Right. I was a commission cutter and I was just undercutting everybody to get people to list their homes with me. And, of course, that wasn’t true. But they had to justify it to themselves to make themselves feel better. Right. Well, yeah.
Rabbi Evan Moffic 2:56
And you know, I mean, we’re not talking politics strictly today, but it actually In a free market, people are happier. People, when you have opportunities to work hard and produce, you’re actually there are all kinds of studies about this, you’re actually in a much happier place. It’s when things are, you know, driven by kind of laziness and, you know, protected unions kinds of status, and they’re sent me to work hard. People are not happy, they’re they miserable, they get jealous of everyone else.
Jason Hartman 3:23
Yeah, you know, that’s a funny thing, too. What’s not it’s a tragic thing, actually. But people in environments like government jobs or in socialist or communist countries, you know, I think of it like this race horses, they want to run. That’s what they do. And humans, they’re creators. Humans are creative, you know, all of them. I mean, I’m not just talking about creative people as we dubbed them, but just all people are creative beings. And if you don’t get to create, you’re just not going to be as fulfilled,
Rabbi Evan Moffic 3:54
right. I mean, this is a religious idea. I mean, God begins the world with creation. Heavens in the earth. And essentially one of the Jewish interpretations when it says God created human beings in God’s image, what does that mean? Right and rabbis interpreting it say it means man is a creative being, that we can create, we create children, we create art, we create a civilization we produce there. I mean, there’s actually this whole interesting, you know, notion of in Judaism, what is human nature? Is it good? Or is it evil? And they say, well, it’s actually both. But if we didn’t have the evil inclination, if we didn’t have rest of instinct, we produce fact when we’re creative when we produce we’re actually happier because we’re taking that energy that could be used for aggression and for war and turning it into something productive.
Jason Hartman 4:42
Hmm, that’s interesting. So what is the happiness prayer then? I mean, this is a Jewish tradition. What is it did just pray for happiness? God, please make me happy. I mean, what do you mean?
Rabbi Evan Moffic 4:52
I actually coined the phrase to happiness prayer. It’s a prayer that comes from the Talmud. So the Talmud is sort of like the second Most important book in Judaism, it’s kind of commentary on the Torah, okay? And the happiness prayer is a list of actions that these Jewish sages 2000 years ago, many of them were contemporaries of Jesus, the sages believed that these actions would lead to a happier life. Things like study, learning, kindness, acts of kindness, hospitality, you know, welcoming people into your homes, being with people in times of need. I mean, one of the most important as a rabbi, I probably conduct one funeral a week. And I see that friends, people showing up for a funeral really means something, no matter how old someone is, when somebody dies, their survivors are in pain. Yeah, and just be here is such a great deed. And so these kind of religious commandments actions that the rabbi said ultimately lead us to a happier life. Notice it’s happiness, not pleasure. Pleasure. Yes, are different.
Jason Hartman 6:00
I’m so glad I’m so glad you mentioned that because so many people in our culture and throughout the ages I’m sure, confuse hedonism with happiness. Like when I become successful when I get rich, I’ll be able to have pleasure all the time. That life sucks. You become a disaster. Anybody who has too much hedonism, you’ve talked about buying a boat buying a Tesla. They seem great at the time, but ultimately, they don’t think that much happiness. Yeah, no, in fact, they bring a lot of extra hassles. I had two Tesla’s The second one was an absolute lemon. Hinde, the boat, well, just a boat by the name of vote voted. Bo t means bring on another thousand. We’re throwing money in the water all the time. It’s terrible. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Well, okay, so so in the in the book, you talk about the structure, right. And I think you just alluded to some of these things, but I want to just go over all of them right. The prayer begins with a statement of purpose of financial metaphor. For our actions represent investment of our time, the interest on this investment is our happiness. That’s so interesting. don’t comment yet. But it’s like, the happiness is just the interest on it’s not the investment itself. It’s the interest on the investment that’s really interesting, like financial interest it compounds. In other words, the longer we follow these lessons, the more our happiness grows. And then you talk about how to find happiness in this world and peace in the world to come. Learning these wisdom parts. honor those who gave you life behind, keep learning, invite others into your life. Be there when others need you. Celebrate good times, support yourself and others during times of loss who certainly just talked about that. Pray with intention. Forgive, look inside and commit. Yeah, that sounds like great advice. What do you want to elaborate on there.
Rabbi Evan Moffic 8:00
Let’s elaborate on the first point about the financial metaphor. It’s really true. I when you were just reading it again, I was thinking about real estate in some ways. Who likes all the whole process of qualifying for a mortgage? I mean, who I can’t stand. Come on.
Jason Hartman 8:15
It’s so much fun. Just kidding.
Rabbi Evan Moffic 8:20
I actually think that probably turns off a lot of people. Oh, it does. Yeah. But once you do it, then look at the benefits, you get these low interest rates for 30 years. Yeah.
Jason Hartman 8:28
And it gets easier every time. You know. Yeah. Cuz you just know how to do it.
Rabbi Evan Moffic 8:32
And I think that that is true in life in our deeds, you know, in any job. You have to put in a lot of work, especially Initially, I mean, you always have to work hard, but you you put in that work, and then over time you see the fruits of your investment of your labor. I mean, parenting is like that, too. You know, you the early years are really tough. You know, there’s been studies of happiness of parents, their happiness declines for about 18 years.
Jason Hartman 8:57
That doesn’t sound you’re not convincing me to be at Bad with that kind of speech but okay.
Rabbi Evan Moffic 9:03
It’s really tough. Men are happier in the long run. They’re actually conflicting studies about this, that some people are more miserable. But there is something about that pleasure is short of short term, getting a massage, having a great meal. And that’s, we need that. But happiness is looking back at your life and saying, I’m proud of what I did. I’m satisfied how I lived.
Jason Hartman 9:24
Yeah, I would like to go back to the creative metaphor. You know, I think happiness is about what you create. You know, I remember years ago reading a Christian book by Stu Weber. It was it was a men’s book and I can’t remember exactly what he said. But it was just it was so poetic. And bro, you know, it really influenced me and I remember it this day. And he talks about like, a man’s purpose in life is to leave a legacy, not a monument. And then ein Rand, interestingly, who was a devout atheist, which I think she’s kind of crazy. For that, but I love her work otherwise, she has an essay called the monument builders in her book the virtue of selfishness, which has a great essay and talks about how all these dictators and you know, people throughout history, you know, they build monuments to themselves, right, Kim Jong Hoon and Kim Jong Il, and Stalin and Lenin and Hitler and you know, all the rest of them, right? They all build monuments to themselves, rather than leaving this legacy of a better world, right? Obviously, those people are quite evil that I mentioned, but it’s, it’s creating something that goes on, Denis waitley said a great he said, plant a shade tree under which you know, you’ll never sit.
Rabbi Evan Moffic 10:40
Yes, well, there’s a Jewish story. I’ve used it in sermons. And it’s a story about a guy who is planting a tree, but he’s an old man, he’s 70 years old, according this, this is a tom mutek story. So
Jason Hartman 10:52
why bother here? 70 you’re not gonna be here to enjoy it. Right?
Rabbi Evan Moffic 10:55
Exactly. The kid says that to him. And the old man says, Well, when I came in To the world, my ancestors, I planted trees for me. So I’m leaving space for my descendants. And it’s true. And you know, I asked myself, you’ve talked about the fire movement, financial independence, retire early. There’s some great tips in that. But the truth is, I know so many people who could have afforded to retire 1015 years ago, and they still work hard. They still because there’s something wonderful and meaningful about being creative about adding value. It’s not about the money. It’s not about the power. I mean, so. Okay, so there’s some status issues, who likes to make some extra money for travel and things like that. But that’s not the motivating yours
Jason Hartman 11:33
might be. It’s not the thing that’s really going to motivate you long term. You know, you might want to make some money. Certainly, we’ve all got egos. There’s a little bit of ego gratification. There’s a little bit of like, Oh, I love that I’m winning the race. Right. But long term, that stuff is hollow. I think that tends to influence us more when we’re young, especially young males, you know, when you’re like in your early 20s, all you want to do is conquer the world, right? But when you get a little older and more mature That changes and hopefully, hopefully we figure it out. You know,
Rabbi Evan Moffic 12:04
some people don’t know some people don’t we all know people who are in their 50s and 60s who name drop all the time. You know, I know this person, I know that person. And you kind of feel sorry for them. Yes, they’re just they identify themselves. And I think that that having a faith tradition, whether it’s Judaism or Christianity, you actually see yourself in a larger context. You’ve talked about context versus content. This is the broader context of our lives. Are we here simply for ourselves? Or are we part of a chain of tradition? Are we connected to the people who came before us and the people who will come after us? And then when we see our lives in that broader context, we make different choices. That’s where Iran is so interesting and important, but she was a militant atheist. She
Jason Hartman 12:47
She was militant.
Rabbi Evan Moffic 12:48
Yes. Even though she was born Jewish Actually, I don’t in the former union. Very interesting person.
Jason Hartman 12:54
Yeah, fairy. She was definitely an interesting character. No question I love a lot of her work is just awesome. Okay, so More on the happiness prayer. What else? Do you want people to know? Maybe an action step two, you know, what do we do? Is this just a conceptual framework? Or it’s all action?
Rabbi Evan Moffic 13:09
Yeah, it’s all action. I mean, that’s one of the reasons in Judaism, deed is more important than create what you do is more important than what you believe. And these are all actions, like, for example, kindness, that that’s been my focus, you know, kindness. There’s this scientist, University of Pennsylvania, Martin Seligman. He basically invented the field of positive psychology. And he said, when you’re feeling down, the best thing to do is to do something kind for another person. He said, not only does it make you happier in the short term, but also in the long term that you’ve something. And that may sound cliche ish, but it’s true. Yeah. And so, kindness, and you know, in real estate, this is another thing that your reputation is everything, right? I mean, when we buy real estate, that that’s already been rehabbed, or so forth, we oftentimes, you know, you don’t do these cutthroat negotiations. There is a sense of kindness like there’s doing together there’s trust and doing something for another person builds deeper ties that ultimately make us happier and more successful in the long run. Kindness is one of those things. I’ve often asked myself, why aren’t we more kind to other people? And I think it is sort of you live in this competitive society. So when you’re a high powered attorney, and you’re going up against somebody, you don’t want to be perceived as weak. So you’re not as kind as we could be. Kindness also makes us vulnerable. I remember when my daughter, she started a new school. And she went up to a kid on the playground the first day during lunch and said, Hi, you know, I’d like to be your friend. And the kid turned away and said, No. And now I think to myself, my daughter will never go up to another kid again. Even though nine times out of 10 that’s a good way to open a conversation, but makes us vulnerable. So we avoid it. Nobody wants to miss rejection. So I think if we can take concrete steps to just you know, it sounds cliche, but it’s true do unchain for another person, visit somebody who’s been ill call somebody experienced a loss. It doesn’t take much time and it’s really meaningful. Mm. Yeah.
Jason Hartman 15:05
Yeah, absolutely. It is. And you know, I’ll tell you, you are so right. Whenever you are feeling, I don’t think it’s even possible to feel down or depressed when you’re doing something for other people. You know, I remember years ago, I was having a tough time, I was feeling pretty depressed about some things. And I was a Junior Achievement instructor. And I had volunteered in their program for like three and a half years or so. And they had a special program, where they said, you can go and teach Junior Achievement inside juvenile hall. So I went to juvenile hall to jail, okay to teach Junior Achievement for the kids in there. That was just an awesome experience. I mean, I did it in the normal classroom, too. You know, that was fine, but it was really, I think, much more impactful, teaching it in juvenile hall. So you know, you would Go in, like, I think I went in, maybe like once a week for a few weeks or something and taught the classes to the kids in juvenile hall. And it was awesome. That was really fulfilling, I hope, although I don’t know, but I hope I really changed some lives and got some of those kids on the right track.
Rabbi Evan Moffic 16:15
I mean, it’s amazing. You never know. I mean, that’s that idea that, you know, one one action leads to another, pay it forward. It’s true. Think that kindness is so essential. The other thing that I find very powerful is this idea of lifelong learning the exact Hebrew in the happiness prayer is visit the house of study, morning and evening. I think that is something people who read who travel who it’s more of life are happier. I read somewhere that our brain stopped growing at age 25. Yeah, we can build new connections on different parts of our brain. And so getting traveling experience that builds new connections, it builds empathy, we can understand other people’s situations, a better buy trap. So that actually makes us happier because we have a range of human emotions. And we’re also more educated, more successful. I mean, one of the principles of Judaism and I think of the Bible. I mean, we all can read the Bible in certain ways. But I do think the Bible is a very sort of pro wealth teaching because it teaches us that when we produce when we create, we serve others. We’re actually building wealth and building human connection mean wealth connection, go together. I mean, in Israel today, Israel’s the seventh happiest country in the world. And second, most companies on the NASDAQ exchange outside of the United States and China behind the United States.
Jason Hartman 17:39
And when I was in Israel, I gotta tell you, that is such an amazing place because it’s got enemies on every side. If that can be considered one of the happiest countries and look at the success of that little tiny country. That’s pretty amazing. I mean, can’t we have that happiness we don’t have that kind of adversity, but maybe the adversity is what creates the happiness right? Without question.
Rabbi Evan Moffic 18:03
Nobody wants adversity but sort of forces it clarifies your choices. Mm hmm. Human beings are in some ways defined by how you respond elements of Christ. It’ll it
Jason Hartman 18:14
shows us what we’re made of, you know, one of my favorite quotes, and I can’t remember who said it, but people are like teabags. You can never tell how strong they are until you put them in some hot water. Like that one. Yeah,
Rabbi Evan Moffic 18:29
yeah, we don’t want that situation. But you know what i found life. It always happens, you know, you avoid it. Anybody who goes through life, you’re going to experience downs, you’re going to experience a loss, you’re going to every time
Jason Hartman 18:42
and succeed and the more you try to do, the bigger the risk you take, the more failure you’re going to have, you know, if you just work in a toll booth, okay, and don’t try to do anything in life and don’t make any waves. Yeah, you’ll have a peaceful life, but you also won’t get to create much. So the people who are you know, in the arena as the saying goes, right?
Rabbi Evan Moffic 19:03
Yes. And it has to have a balance. I mean, one thing I hope to talk about in future Solomon success shows is this idea of the Sabbath. I think the Sabbath is something that, you know, is begins in Judaism, but can help people of all faiths so deeply, you know, six days of the week we’re producing, we’re constantly creating and doing something. But on one day, we can just sit and appreciate and see there’s a kind of balance I have found that I can get more done in six days than I could in seven. Mm hmm. That that rest that stepping back that perspective, reminds us of what the work is all about.
Jason Hartman 19:39
And do you not use electricity or technology during that time? Do you really celebrate it or lighting candles and everything?
Rabbi Evan Moffic 19:46
Well, we like candles. Yeah, we like candles. We have a meal together. I’m not as good electronics. I mean, I’m addicted to my phone,
Jason Hartman 19:53
as we all are. Yeah, good.
Rabbi Evan Moffic 19:55
Sit, do better. Sometimes I’ll test myself and make sure that I can like I have gone Without it, but I justify to myself, I said, well, there might be an emergency in my congregation and they’ll have to reach me. So I can’t really turn off my phone. But I definitely try to take a different perspective on one thing. I try not to spend money. That’s one thing. Yeah. You know, we’re always spent one week one
Jason Hartman 20:15
day without commerce, right? Yeah, yeah.
Rabbi Evan Moffic 20:18
There’s something beautiful about that. And it actually makes you appreciate even more a world of commerce a world of trade, you know, you take break, it’s
Jason Hartman 20:27
celebrating the Sabbath. Although I don’t do it. Kind of reminds me of Thoreau’s Walden. Right, Henry David Thoreau went to Walden. And you know, that’s a classic book, obviously. And the way he describes the incredible detail of nature and just his experiences where, and again, I’m terrible with this. I don’t practice it, but I can appreciate it from afar. I need to do that at some point in my life.
Rabbi Evan Moffic 20:52
We’re doing this back in refresh Jason, not much.
Jason Hartman 20:57
Not much. I tried to take a little On weekends and, you know, sort of do more reading and things like that, and just quiet time, but I think it’s important to do that. It really is.
Rabbi Evan Moffic 21:07
Yeah, our society doesn’t encourage it. I mean, you know, there is a kind of sense. I mean, one of the reasons I wrote the happiness prayer is something like every one of us sees at least 3000 commercials a day. Now what count is commercials like seeing a car and seeing that logo on the back. The basic premise of every commercial is you need this, you buy it, you’ll be happier. Yeah. And to say, Actually, let’s say that’s really not true. Here’s what truly leads to happiness. One of the reasons I wrote the book because I would prefer capitalism and consumerism to everything else, but it’s not for happiness. Right?
Jason Hartman 21:41
Yeah, good point. Good point. There’s definitely a balance. Wrap it up for a seven on the happiness prayer, you know, any action steps especially that you can share with our audience, and give out your website to the
Rabbi Evan Moffic 21:54
website is Rabbi ra BPI ma thick m o ff ic.com. I think the most important Action Point, especially for real estate investors, is to show kindness to build relationships. So you’ve heard we’ve all heard that real estate is a relationship business. And it really is true. I mean, I’ve, I’ve formed relationships with some of the local providers that you’ve referred us to form relationships with my investment counselor. And that makes a big difference and lifelong learning. I mean, you’ve got five days a week of this podcast. So take advantage of that and learn. I mean, even if you’re not investing with the network, you’re you’re you’re learning so much just by listening. So that makes us happier.
Jason Hartman 22:32
Good stuff. Good stuff. Rabbi Evan morphic. Thank you so much for joining us. The book is the happiness prayer. You got some other great books out there? And they’re available in all the usual places and thanks again. Thanks, Jason. Thank you so much for listening. Please be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss any episodes. Be sure to check out the show’s specific website and our general website Hartman. Mediacom for appropriate disclaimers and terms of service. Remember that guest opinions are their own. And if you require specific legal or tax advice, or advice and any other specialized area, please consult an appropriate professional. And we also very much appreciate you reviewing the show. Please go to iTunes or Stitcher Radio or whatever platform you’re using and write a review for the show we would very much appreciate that. And be sure to make it official and subscribe so you do not miss any episodes. We look forward to seeing you on the next episode.