Most people aspire to wealth. To achieve it, we need to know what it is that we are seeking. The consumerist image of wealth is highly materialistic: an oceanside mansion, with expensive, new cars in the garage, to start with.
We will start with a different image to frame our goals. When the Jewish farmer is gathering from his threshing floor and winepress at the end of the harvest, the richest time of his year, he leaves his house for a hut. He eats his festive meals surrounded by two and a half walls adorned with beautiful decorations. For seven days, his sukkah is his permanent residence, while his house is his temporary residence.
The celebratory atmosphere available to the pious farmer illustrates a degree of prosperity unrealized by many of the wealthy of the West, where consumers are often willing to sacrifice a holiday meal for a chance to spend the day shopping at a discount. Instead of keeping up with the Joneses, a wealth arms race which no one can win, the Torah offers an egalitarian wealth of sufficiency and contentedness. The farmer contents himself in his hut and provides for the needs of anyone who lacks so that all can “rejoice in your festival – you, your son, your daughter, your slave, your maidservant, the Levite, the stranger, the orphan and the widow who are in your gates.”
As Ben Zoma would say:
Who is wealthy? He who is happy with his portion. As it is said, “When you eat of the toil of your hands, you are fortunate and it is good for you.” “You are fortunate” – in this world; “and it is good for you” – in the World to Come.
Unlike the Forbes world’s billionaire’s list, you don’t have to have a specific amount of money to be rich. There are two requirements for admission to the club. First is contentedness with what you have. Contentedness is the opposite of the modern rat race, which honors constant aspiration for more. The second requirement is effort to produce the fruit, which makes you a contributor to God’s world and thus worthy of eternal reward.
These two elements – contentedness and effort – are mediated via rest. The wealthy Jew sits under his own vine and fig tree, with a riveting tractate of Talmud in his hands.
As the Akeidat Yitzchak expresses the idea, having rest upon attainment of a goal is a necessary condition of achieving that goal. The rich person with more money than he will ever be able to use, who nevertheless keeps on working and gives himself no rest, has not actually achieved the goal of being wealthy. A person with little money, who works just enough to live within his means, has achieved it.
The reason for this is simple. “A lover of money will not be sated of money.” One who has one hundred wants two hundred, and when he gets two hundred he will want another two hundred. There is nothing limiting how much money you can potentially acquire, and so there is nothing limiting how much of it you can want: only reason can set a limit. The correct amount of money to aspire for has to be defined in terms of concrete uses for it. In the Rambam’s words:
One should only toil at his work to acquire a thing that he needs for the time at hand, like what is said, “A little is good for the righteous person.”Hilchot Deot 1:4
(A corollary to this is that you can achieve your goals much more easily the more you reduce them, which makes being “happy with one’s portion” that much easier.)
 Devarim 16:14.
 Avot 4:1.
 Tehillim 128:2.
 Kedoshim, gate 56.
 Kohelet 5:9.
 Kohelet Rabbah 1:13.
 Tehillim 37:16.