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Oct. 29, 2021

Bargain Hunters (Chayei Sarah)

Ever wonder why people tend to say, “I found an amazing deal on this shirt,” as opposed to, “I got an amazing deal on this shirt”? When people talk about bargains in terms of “finding”, it reveals something about the human psyche, namely, that we love bargains and good deals so much it is like finding a lost object, a part of our very selves.

According to a survey done by psychologists from Retail Me Not, the average American will wait 57 days to find a deal on something. That is absolutely mind-blowing. Rather than just purchasing the shirt, for example, at whatever price the store says, most people will wait around 2 months to find a better deal.

Furthermore, psychologists found that the majority of people who bought expensive items felt bad and guilty for making such purchases. But besides for the guilt factor, there is another reason why people enjoy finding a bargain. That is, because human nature is that when we hunt and find a good deal, we feel a sense of pride, and that pride leads us to want to tell our friends and family about our bargain purchases. In the survey, they found that reactions from family and friends are the second most important factor in finding a bargain at least for 16- to 24-year-olds.

Enter Avraham Avinu. In Parshas Chayei Sarah, we are informed of the death of Sarah who needed to be buried. Comes along her husband, Avraham Avinu, and just like that, he offers to pay בכסף מלא – the full price – to the Children of Ches and Efron. Avraham Avinu didn’t waste time bargaining and trying to find “the best deal,” rather, he wanted to pay in full.

The Torah, perhaps, is educating us as to the very nature of Avraham Avinu. He was a person who lived his entire life with the בכסף מלא – I will give it my all – mindset. In every situation, in every nisayon, Avraham Avinu gave it his all.

Charleston Parker once remarked, “In life, you have three choices. Give up, give in, or give it your all.” Avraham Avinu chose the latter. He chose to live his life from the attitude of בכסף מלא – I will give it my all.

The message for us is clear. Yes, when it comes to a shirt or a pair of shoes, there is nothing wrong with waiting to find a bargain. But when it comes to life, to our service of Hashem, we have to strive to be on a path where we are not looking for bargains.

Too often we take the “cheaper” options by choosing the shortcuts and bargains of life. We perhaps fail to realize that when we “pay in full” and give it our all – whether that means davening with more intent, learning with more fervor, doing business with more honesty, and performing kindness with more devotion – then we are actually paving the way for a more honorable, pleasurable, and accomplishing life.

May we take the message from Avraham Avinu and live with the בכסף מלא mindset and strive to give it our all.

Have a holy Shabbos! Ori Strum