March 29, 2023

Nazir 27

A phrase is used in today’s daf (Nazir 27b) that is both true and false at once: דְּמֵי הַיְינוּ מָעוֹת – ‘value is money’.
In terms of the context of its usage in our daf, what is being discussed is the status of a blemished animal that cannot be brought as a sacrifice. Consequently, its value – in terms of sacrificial usage – is its monetary worth which will be used for other communal sacrifices. This is where this statement is true.
A further area where this statement is true is in the realm of business. For example, an entrepreneur can often undervalue themselves in terms of what they charge for their services. True, a client may value the services which they provide. But the business owner must also know the financial worth of what they do.
At the same time it is also false because the most valuable experiences in life are not bought by money and they don’t come with a price tag. As the Beatles put it, ‘Can’t buy me love, love; Can’t buy me love.’ In fact, the very suggestion of assigning a monetary value to precious life experiences actually cheapens them.
Ultimately, knowing one’s worth may mean different things to different people, but while value is money in some contexts, there are plenty things of value that money can’t buy.
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