Greed and Gratitude


Hi Rabbi,

What can Judaism teach me about practical ways to combat the greediness that I feel? I don’t think I’m a bad person but I am self aware enough to realize that I am too greedy.

Thanks so much!



  1. I do not think that there is one specific Torah strategy for combating greed, and I think you may need to experiment with a few to see which is most effective for you. Here are some strategies that you may find helpful:

    1. Gratitude: The more that a person feels gratitude for what they have and outwardly express their gratitude, their desire for more will be lessened. When you eat, say a blessing beforehand and focus even a little on being grateful for what you have. This will make you happier and less inclined to look at what others have. You will be less compelled to seek more. During the silent prayer, when we say the blessing of “thanking God,” consider taking some time to meditate on the aspects of your life for which you are grateful, such as family, community and health.

    2. Humility: Try to see yourself as a recipient of God’s kindness and the kindness of other people, and not as one who deserves or is entitled by rights to what you have. A little self-criticism and understanding that maybe we are not all that worthy goes a long way to helping us cope with greed and envy.

    3. Channel your ambition and energy and greed into positive areas. Be greedy about pursuing Torah wisdom. Look with envy upon good character traits that you see in other people and try to acquire them for yourself.

    4. When you perform a mitzvah (and do almost any other activity) try to focus completely on that activity. Immerse yourself in the experience. Hopefully you will find it a more satisfying and meaningful experience, one that you will want to return to, one that will give you joy.

    5. Giving: Involve yourself in giving to others. You can do this by volunteering your services or other resources to help people in need. When you give to others, you become more appreciative of your own good fortune. As a result, you will become less inclined to be jealous, you will create more friendships and you will be become less of a taker and more of a giver.

    6. Contemplate and study ideas about Divine Providence and trust in God. Try to come to an understanding that God gives that which is appropriate to you in your situation.

    I hope at least one of these strategies that are found in classical Jewish sources will be helpful for you.

    Best wishes from the Team