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Once upon a time there lived a greedy dog.  One afternoon the dog was terribly hungry and so he walked across the bridge sniffing for food.  Suddenly he spotted a bone lying on the other side of the bridge.  The hungry dog picked up the bone and was just about to eat it when he thought – “another dog might see me here with this bone and then I would have to share it with him.  This is too delicious a bone to share.  So I will take this bone home and have it all to myself.”  As the dog trotted home with the bone in his mouth he retraced his steps across the bridge.         

On a whim the dog looked over the side of the bridge only to see his own reflection in the water.  However, the dog mistook his own reflection for another dog.  The dog said to himself, “there is another dog down there in the water with a bone in his mouth.  Wouldn’t it be nice to snatch that bone from him?  Then I will have two bones and everyone knows that two is better than one.”         

The greedy dog looked at his reflection and growled.  The reflection immediately growled back and this only made the dog angry.  Growling turned to barking, but by opening his mouth to bark, the bone fell from his mouth straight into the river.  It was only when the water splashed that the greedy dog realized that what he had seen all along was nothing but his own reflection and not another dog.  By then it was too late.  He had lost the bone because of his greed.  Greed has a tendency of doing that to us.  in our need for more, we lose what we already enjoy.

According to the economist Gabriel Zucman, wealthy individuals and corrupt politicians have stashed away $7.6 trillion in offshore tax havens.  This rather hefty sum represents 8% of the world’s wealth.  Greed is a corrosive thing.  To want is human nature.  To want more than the person next to us is also human nature.  But to be in a mindset that whatever you have is never enough, that is called greed and eventually the fate that will befall you will be no different than what happened to the greedy dog.     

It is human nature to protect what we have and to increase what we have.  But what sets us apart and lifts us closer to the angels is our willingness to give.  It is our willingness to give that lifts us up.  It is our willingness to give into greed that pulls us down.

I am reminded of the ancient teaching that “greed is as gaping as hell.  Like death he has never enough.”

Translation – when our greed runs out of control we will eventually find ourselves in our own personal hell.  On the other hand, when we have found a way to live in kindness and generosity, then we will have found a way to create light where there was darkness.         

So the next time you travel over a bridge think of the story of the greedy dog and the bone.  More importantly remember the mission phrase of our synagogue – We Bring Good Things to Light.         

Figure out a way to be involved in what we do.  In no time at all you will become even more of a person of light than you already may be.  Temple Beth Shalom...We Bring Good Things to Light