Alan Goldberg, an Austin, Texas entrepreneur, has set out to create a new definition for Jewish coins. Alan has founded SoulCoin Co. and is marketing the company’s first coins—the Humility and Joy Coin Set—as “Coins of the Spiritual Realm.”
“It was during the month before the Jewish High Holidays, when we think a lot about the larger topics of life,” Alan explains. “The idea just hit me. I went into a kind of trance, and when I came out of it, I had the idea for the coins and the initial design all worked out.” And so the Humility and Joy Coin Set was born.
The Humility and Joy Coin Set is based on a familiar parable of Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Peshsischa, a leader of Polish Jewry who died in 1827. He suggested that everyone have a slip of paper in each pocket. In one pocket, we should find the words, bishvili nivrah ha’olam– “The world was created for my sake” And in the other, the words anokhi afar vaeifer – “I am but dust and ashes”
“My idea was to enable people to actually put this parable of wisdom into practice, but paper is not permanent enough to make it practical. That’s where the coins come in,” Alan explains.
There are two 1.5-inch bronze coins in the set. The Coin of Humility has the phrase “I am but dust and ashes” on the front in both Hebrew and English. The back of the coin has the phrase “Know from whence you came” in both languages as well. There are other symbols on the coin, such as a large Hebrew letter Dalet, that all relate to the theme of Humility. You put this coin in your left pocket to carry around as a reminder to be humble and to not get a “big head.”
The Coin of Joy has the phrase For my sake was the world created on the front, again in both Hebrew and English. The back of the coin has the phrase And you shall rejoice. Other symbols on this coin reinforce the idea that you have a purpose in the world, and should grasp this purpose and carry it out. In this way you will be truly happy. You put this coin in your right pocket, and during the times you’re feeling down and a bit lost, it can remind you of where your happiness lies.
“I wanted the message to be inclusive enough that anyone would accept the wisdom they represent, and so spread Jewish wisdom to others” Alan explains. The coin set comes with a brochure explaining the wisdom and all the symbols on the coins. “I wanted to make the point that these are not charms or amulets, as you see claimed in some Kabbalah products. Their power comes from a person’s actively using them to help balance his or her approach to life.”
You can see more pictures of the SoulCoins and order on-line from www.soulcoin.com. Ten percent of all SoulCoin sales is given to charity. The set retails for $14.95 each. Quantity discounts are available, which make them ideal gifts for special occasions such as graduations, seminars, and confirmations.