Financial Advice from the Torah for Special Occasion Spending

Financial Advice from the Torah for Special Occasion Spending

We all know how important it is to live within our means, but when special events come up, things can be really stressful. Often on special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, graduations, holidays, and milestones, there is a lot of pressure to go above and beyond what we would normally spend in order to prove how special the time is for us.

However, we can learn a lot about how we should manage our resources from the Torah and we should listen to what God says to us regarding special occasions, more than our feelings.

Just like today, there were many special occasions in the Torah and that often involved giving. Moses made it clear, “Three times a year all your men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. No one should appear before the Lord empty-handed: each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you. All must give as they are able, according to the blessings given to them by the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 16:17).

Did you catch that? While gifts were expected, God make it clear that He only expected humans to give as they were able, not according to what their neighbors, family, or friends could afford or what they would like to be able to give. God only wants you to give what you can. If God the Creator of the universe Who must certainly deserves more than anyone doesn’t want you to give what you don’t have to Him on special occasions, why do so many people go into debt while trying give others or themselves what they don’t have?

You shouldn’t consider yourselves or the approval of strangers more highly than the Lord. Allow the principles of the Torah to relieve the pressure to overspend and go into debt when shopping for others or yourself on special occasions. You can still try to buy nice things; just don’t overdo it, and remember -- even if you want to show how much you care -- you are not really giving your money when you go in debt for something because that money belongs to someone else. As the Jewish proverb of King Solomon says, “If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you?” (Proverbs 22:27).

Don’t risk losing everything to pay off debt collectors; only purchase what you are able to, even when special events come up. Also, it is more meaningful to give what is actually yours --  even if it is less than what you would like -- than what belongs to someone else. God looks at the heart and circumstances more than the number of gifts; you should be merciful to yourself and others and do the same. 

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