Aurelius - Meditations 4:25: A Stoic Take on Sameach b'Chelko


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Make trial for yourself how the life of the good man, too, fares well, of the man who is satisfied with his portion out of the whole and contented by his own just action and kind disposition.
Avos 4:1
Who is wealthy? One who is satisfied with his portion.

Rambam – Moreh ha’Nevuchim 3:12
… the soul, when accustomed to superfluous things, acquires a strong habit of desiring things which are neither necessary for the preservation of the individual nor for that of the species. This desire is without a limit; whilst things which are necessary are few in number and restricted within certain limits, what is superfluous is without end. For example, you desire to have your vessels of silver, but golden vessels are still better; others have even vessels of sapphire, or perhaps they can be made of emerald or rubies, or any other substance that could be suggested. Those who are ignorant and perverse in their thought are constantly in trouble and pain because they cannot get as much of superfluous things as a certain other person possesses. They, as a rule, expose themselves to great dangers, for example, by sea voyage, or service of kings, and all this for the purpose of obtaining that which is superfluous and not necessary. When they thus meet with the consequences of the course which they adopt, they complain of the decrees and judgments of God; they begin to blame the time, and wonder at the lack of justice in its changes; that it has not enabled them to acquire great riches, with which they could buy large quantities of wine for the purpose of making themselves drunk, and numerous concubines adorned with various kind of ornaments of gold, embroidery, and jewels, for the purpose of driving themselves to sexual indulgence beyond their capacities – as if the whole universe existed exclusively for the purpose of giving pleasure to these low people.

Other Sources:

- Thoreau – Walden, Economy
- R’ Avraham ben ha’Rambam – Ha’Maspik l’Ovdei Hashem, Chapter 9
- Rambam: Mishneh Torah, Sefer ha'Mada, Hilchos Deos 3:1
If you have questions, comments, or feedback, I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to contact me at rabbischneeweiss at gmail.
Stoicism Resources:
Farquharson translation of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
Gummere translation of Letters from a Stoic Master (Seneca)
Long translation of The Discourses of Epictetus
Carter translation of The Enchiridion (Handbook) of Epictetus
YouTube Channel:
"The Mishlei Podcast":
"The Stoic Jew" Podcast:
"Rambam Bekius" Podcast:

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