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    In our daily
    Krias Shema, we
    say, “V’ahvata
    es Hashem
    Elokecha – And
    you should love
    Hashem Your
    Go-d.” Both the Rokei’ach and
    the Baal HaTurim reveal that the
    word v’ahavta is an anagram of
    ha’Avos, our Patriarchs, referring
    to Avraham, Yitzchak, and
    Yaakov. Then, we follow up this
    statement of our love of Hashem
    with, “B’chol levovecha – With all
    our heart,” like Avraham of whom
    it is written, “Umatzotza es levovo
    ne’emon l’fonecha – And You
    found his heart trustworthy before
    You.” Then we say, “B’chol
    nafshecha – With all of our life,”
    like Yitzchak, who offered his life
    at the akeidah. Finally, we say
    “B’chol meodecha – With all of
    your money,” like Yaakov, who
    declared, “Kol asher titen li aser
    a’ashrenu loch – All that You give
    me I will surely tithe to You.”
    With this explanation, we can
    understand why b’chol meodecha
    follows after b’chol nafshecha,
    for at first glance it would seem
    to be anticlimactic that we pledge
    our money after we pledge our
    very life. According to the Baal
    HaTurim and the Rokei’ach, the
    order is chronological in nature.
    Rashi answers this difficulty in
    another way. He explains that
    there are people who love their
    money more than their life. For
    example, if someone holds them
    up threatening, “Your money or
    your life,” they’ll attempt to make
    a run for it! It is because of such
    people, explains Rashi, that it says
    b’chol meodecha after b’chol
    I always found this explanation
    very puzzling for I would assume
    that a person of the mindset which
    Rashi describes must certainly
    be within a great minority. Most
    sensible people love their lives
    more than their money. So,
    shouldn’t the order of Krias Shema
    follow the majority of
    humanity? Wouldn’t it be
    more proper to say “With
    all your money and even
    with your life?” I think
    the true understanding of
    Rashi is as follows. The
    word meodecha in reality
    does not mean money.
    Rather, the word meod
    means ‘very much,’ like
    in the phrase tov meod, it is very
    good. Thus, when we say that
    we are loving Hashem b’chol
    meodecha, we mean with all that
    is the very most dear to us. Rashi
    gives but one example: that for
    some people money is the most
    dear to them. But that is only one
    example. Many a mother will
    shield her child from danger with
    her own body because her child
    is dearer to her than her own life.
    A loving spouse will shield their
    mate from danger. And finally,
    here’s another possible meaning
    of b’chol meodecha: with one’s
    mind: for most people would
    rather die than to live like a
    So the definition of this
    climactic declaration of love
    for Hashem varies from
    person to person.
    I discovered another example
    of what b’chol meodecha
    can entail from the following
    Chassidic gem. Rav Nochum
    of Chernobyl, Zt”l, Zy”a, used
    to travel from small town to
    another to spread the holy
    words of the Baal Shem Tov
    and the Maggid of Mezeritch.
    He came to one town and
    found that they did not have
    a mikvah. When he asked the
    townspeople how such a thing
    was possible, they explained
    that they couldn’t afford to
    build one. Rav Nochum did
    some homework and learned
    that there was one wealthy
    man living in the town. He
    approached him with the
    proposition to perform the
    great mitzvah of building the
    mikvah. The man responded
    with a counter-proposal. He
    was ready, he said, to both
    fund the building of a stateof-the-art mikvah and take on
    its long-term expenses with the
    following condition. When the
    Rebbe inquired as to the condition,
    astonishingly the man asked in
    exchange for the Rebbe’s Olam
    Haba, his portion in the Afterlife.
    Rav Nochum acquiesced and the
    contract was drawn up.
    When the students of Rav Nochum
    asked him in consternation how
    he could agree to such a thing,
    he answered that it says that one
    should serve Hashem b’chol
    meodecha. What, he concluded,
    could be more precious to me than
    my portion in the Afterlife and
    now I get a chance to show my
    love for Hashem even with that!
    In the zchus of dedicating
    ourselves wholeheartedly to
    Hashem, may he shower us with
    good health, happiness, and
    everything wonderful!