The Torah describes that upon the earth swallowed ואת בתיהם ואת כל האדם אשר לקרח ואת כל הרכוש. The author Alufei Yehudah asked why didn’t the Torah write ואת כל רכושם and all their property instead of and all the רכוש and all the property? He answers that when a person leaves this world he cannot take any of his property and possessions with him, only Torah and mitzvos. Therefore it does not say רכושם their property.
Let us give an alternative interpretation by examining the word and letters of רכוש . The same letters of רכש spell כשר. This conveys that the money and property that one acquires must be kosher. It should not come into your ownership through crooked business dealings or cheating. Such money and acquisitions could negatively affect the benefactor just as non kosher food when eaten. The sefarim ask how is it possible that we see Cheder Children who are so sweet, frum and learning with geshmak, yet to everyone’s surprise as they get older they go off the derech for no known explanation. They answer because their fathers pay tuition and feed them with not kosher money which taints their chinuch and the food producing energy that they derive from such forms of forbidden parnassah. This concept is also hinted to in the English word property. The possessions one owns should be proper and correct not illegally acquired.
The Mishneh Berurah writes Siman 115,1 that in the beracha of ברך עלינו of Shemoneh Esrai one should daven that his parnassah should come to him without any איסורים.
The passuk says (Vayikra 22:32) “You shall not desecrate My holy name, that I may be sanctified in the midst of the people of Yisrael – I am the Hashem who sanctifies you”. This verse means that any good or holy act that a Yid does, sanctifies Hashem’s name in the eyes of his Jewish and gentile neighbors, while any bad or profane act that a Jew does, desecrates Hashem’s name in the eyes of the public. When a Yid cheats on his taxes, the tax official does not say “Hershel Goldberg is a cheat”, but rather “Jews are thieves, what an unethical religion”. When a Jewish retailer overcharges, the customer does not say “Yosef Schwartz is a swindler”, but rather “Jews are cut throats, what an unjust Hashem”.
I once saw a Medrash that writes that the reason why the geulah has not yet come is because the moment that Hashem will announce to the world that Am Yisrael is His Chosen Nation there will be such a great uproar of Chillul Hashem. For the gentile nations will come and claim “How can you choose these unethical thieves as Your holy nation when it was they who ripped me off and cheated me in business. Because of this impending desecration of Hashem’s name, He is not yet ready to bring Moshiach to us until this matter is fully corrected.
With this Medrash we can now understand the connection between ברך עלינו which is followed by the beracha of תקע בשופר גדול לחירותינו. Only when Am Yisrael fully believes and davens for parnassah which comes from ידך המלאה הפתוחה והקדושה he will realize that it is Hashem who gives the sustenance and the acquisitions of property and money. Therefore, no reason exists for one to cheat anybody since everything one receives comes from Hashem with an exact cheshbon just like we witnessed from the manna which miraculously sustained Yisrael daily in the desert with an exacting amount (Yalkut Shimoni Shmos 15). Such ethical and moral dealings will surely herald the geulah sooner than later.
A second interpretation of the word רכוש is הכשרwhich means susceptible and prepared. For instance, if water comes in contact with fruit then they are מוכשר לטומאה they are now ready to become tamei by an defiled object. The wordכשר denotes preparedness just as the word כשרון means talents. If an individual has כשרון he is ready to tackle the task. Talent alone is not the goal but rather it is a means to achieve the goal.
So too, a Man’s possessions are only a conduit to fulfill one’s destiny such as mitzvos, but they themselves are not an ends to strive for. Rather they can be sanctified, hallowed, and elevated by using them with Hashem in mind. That inclusion of Hashem gives one’s רכוש theכשר stamp of approval.
We must realize that we are put on earth to be part of the Awards Program to rack up merits entitling us to שכר rewards in the Next World by using our רכוש properly.
It is interesting that the word רכוש is gematriah תפילה (including the word). We suggest that the relationship between the two is that if one davens for success for parnassah, then when he accrues possessions he will realize that they are a present from Hashem. Since Hashem is his sole benefactor, he will reluctantly use it to “bite the hand that fed him”. In contrast is the person who feels that he is a superior businessman who comes up with incredible strategies. This person can become intoxicated with his own success and amassment of high end possessions. to the point that he feels he doesn’t need Hashem anymore. This moral decay is hinted in the wordשכר means “aged wine” symbolizing that one’s רכוש can get one drunk alienating him from his true and sole benefactor. This concept the passuk (Devarim 32,15) foretold when it wroteוישמן ישורון ויבעט ויטש אלק עשהו Yeshurum became fat and rebelled, You grew fat rotund and obese. Yisrael forsook Hashem Who made them .
This is also alluded to in the word רכוש. The outside letters of רכוש spell רש which means poor. The inside letters of רכוש are gematriah 26 which equals the name of הויה. One must realize that one is not entitled to any materialistic benefits. It is only the name of Hashem which represents rachmanus which pushes away the letters of רש . On your own you have nothing.
When Man removes Hashem from being a partner in his business and earning of sustenance hisרכוש is removed from being his spiritually for he is considered detached from the main source of life. Korach was the richest person in Am Yisrael and his intoxication with it only did him in.
עושה רע לבעליו זה עשרו של קרח שהוא היה עשיר מכל ישראל וכתיב (במדבר טז) וירדו הם וכל אשר להם חיים שאולה.
Hashem only gives it to you as yours when you recognize it is from Him והארץ נתן לבני אדם. However, if man does not recognize this and thinks that he is his own benefactor, then לה’ הארץ ומלואה it was never really yours to begin with. It is just called plainרכוש not רכושו. For the word רכוש is not merely a description of physical objects but rather of spiritual purpose and mission. As we explained above, this word is loaded with different meanings such as it must be כשר and ethical money, it is only a הכשר a means to an end of Torah and Mitzvos and to the שכר in Olam Habah, don’t let your property intoxicate you with power. If these reflections are not applied by you, then you don’t “own” the רכוש to be called רכושו.