Family matters: to leave your wealth to your children or not to leave?


From the news media:

“I don’t plan to leave any money to my children,” the Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman recently announced.

Mr. Fridman, a Jewish businessman who made his money in oil, banking and telecoms, isn’t exactly known for penny-pinching. A prolific philanthropist, he helped found the Russian Jewish Congress in 1996 and is a co-founder of the Genesis Prize, often called “Jewish Nobel Prize”.

But when it comes to his four children, aged between ten and 22, Mr. Fridman explained he feels inheriting his wealth would hamper them. Instead he plans on giving his fortune away to charity.

From the news media:

Mr. Donald Trump, an American billionaire who made his money on excellent real estate developments, supports 23 charities. Among them are Children with AIDS, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans of America, St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters.

All his adult children – Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump – are active in his businesses and charities and most probably will inherit his business empire and charitable work.

Who is right – Mr. Fridman, who does not leave any money to his children to force them starting from “zero” on their own, or Mr. Trump, whose children continue Trump’s creative and charitable work?

It looks like from the canons of Jewish faith, Jewish Mr. Fridman is wrong and Christian Mr. Trump is right, and here is why.

The family is the most important collective unit in Judaism where children are learning from the parents the moral fundamentals – how to define GOOD and how to support it. The Torah/Bible-guided creative work and mitzvah/charity are among very important GOODs, and the children should learn in the family the spiritual greatness of creative work and mitzvah.

Mr. Fridman is one of the creators of the post-Soviet banking and communication systems in Russia that enormously benefited Russian economy and well-being of ordinary Russians. Of course, the Russian authoritarian governing system does not let the Russian economy to be truly prosperous and beneficial to all … but that is a completely different story. The work of Mr. Fridman might be another excellent example of the Jews fulfilling their role of the Chosen to create a better world for everybody … although I am sure Mr. Fridman does not think of himself as one of the Chosen. What is truly strange that Mr. Fridman does not want this children continue his honorable creative and charitable work … of course, if he is not forced by the Russian government to do so that may be the case in Russia.

Mr. Trump is one of the best world-renowned creators of beautiful real estate developments, which make human life more accomplished and enjoyable. His work has made him a very rich person and he spends sizable portion of his wealth for charitable work. What is most important, his creative and charitable work is the life of his entire family as supposed to be if we follow the Judeo-Christian moral traditions.

About Vladimir Minkov

Vladimir Minkov Ph.D. is a nuclear scientist, published author and writer. He is the co-author of "Nuclear Shadow Boxing", a scientific history of the nuclear confrontation between the Soviet Union and USA during the cold war and is the author of "The Jews and Their Role in Our World", which explores his personal journey to discovering Jewish identity. Having lost much of his family in the Holocaust and finding his search for spiritual development stifled in the Soviet Union, Vladimir migrated to the United States in the late 1970s.

Posted on June 4, 2016, in English-language posts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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