Friday, May 3, 2013

The Warren Buffett Shabbaton!!!

This Shabbat thousands of people are flocking to Omaha for the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting to attend the Warren Buffett Shabbaton.

Unfortunately the meeting is on Shabbat and Jewish people have a conflict as we have a weekly meeting with The One who has even more money and wisdom than Warren Buffett and to whom the entire world is His subsidiary.

Fortunately because of YouTube none of us has to miss out on the main event of the meeting..

The Talmud teaches that certain things are 1/60th of something else.  Meaning, if you want to know what some unattainable experience is like, there are available experiences that represent a small taste.

For instance, we can no longer taste the maan that the Jews ate in the desert for 40 years, however honey is 1/60th of the maan.  Taste some honey and whatever that tastes like, multiply it by 60 and that is what maan tasted like..

Not everyone has the capacity to experience prophecy, however, a dream is 1/60th of what that experience is like.

I sincerely believe that the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting is 1/60th of what is was like to be in the dessert with the ancient Israelites learning Torah from Moshe Rabbeinu.

Some might say it trivializes Moshe Rabbeinu to compare him to Waren Buffett. After all, you may say, Moshe gave us the Torah.  All Warren Buffett did was make a big pile of money.  How can they be compared? Even as 1/60th?

I would argue that Warren Buffett represents so much more than just a big pile of money.  His speeches - which constantly draw from stories, parables, and wisdom ancient and modern - are sometimes less about money and more about how a person should conduct himself honestly, ethically, and with integrity.

Never the less, it is true that ostensibly, he is mostly talking about money.

But I am not talking about the substance as much as the experience.

A few days ago those who learn Daf Yomi learned how Moshe and his brother Aharon sat side by side with the other leaders and taught the Torah to the nation.  The Jewish people gathered and sat at the edge of their seat reveling in every word that came from the mouth of Moshe.

When Moshe's father in law first Yitro visited the camp of Israel, he saw how the people waited day and night on long lines to have a chance to speak with Moshe, even if only for a minute.

Moshe was more than just a leader.  The historian Josephus says that Moshe's impact on the Jewish people was so profound that even thousands of years later the Jewish people obeyed his laws as if he were alive and standing before them.  This was not out of fear of Moshe, but out of love for a great leader who saved them, who cared for them, who fed them, and who lead them through the perilous dessert for 40 years. But mostly they loved Moshe for transmitting the Divine wisdom to our people.

Today in Omaha the excitement is palpable.  People are waiting with great excitement for their great leader, Warren Buffett, to speak.  They have traveled great distances to come to Omaha, Nebraska which many of them consider the wilderness.  Tomorrow they will push and shove and squeeze into the convention center to hear words of wisdom from the man that they so admire and wait with excitement and anticipation for every word that comes from his mouth.

Tomorrow Warren and Charlie Munger sitting side by side will be like Moses and Aharon teaching the Israelites.  They will share their wisdom and the people will learn and rejoice.

Tomorrow the speech will be about investing, but one day those crowds will gather once again to hear the words of the Torah.  The people will gather - "the men, the women, and the children ,and the stranger who is in your cities - so that they will hear and so that they will learn and they shall fear Hashem, your God, and be careful to perform the words of the Torah."  (Devarim 31:12)

Imagine a national convention where the world's smartest people will speak of justice and righteousness, and we will all rejoice in their wisdom.  The Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting gives us a taste as to what that will be like.

I, however, will have to miss the crowds tomorrow and catch the speeches after shabbat on youtube, which is fine with me.  I will be with my community in shul celebrating Shabbat - which as the Talmud says - is 1/60th of heaven.


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