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Jealousy

What is the purpose of seeing something that you won’t be able to ever acquire? Also, would it make you resentful? For example, if I am craving a donut, does going to Krispy Kreme in Scranton, Pennsylvania and peering through the windows, where I see the donuts being double glazed in front of my eyes, make me want to eat a donut less or more? If the answer is less, you are either delusional or you’ve never eaten a donut from the Krispy Kreme Scranton branch. So why is it that Moshe was instructed by God to ascend to the mountain overlooking the land of Israel, knowing full well that he will be unable to enter the land?

I think the answer might be directly in the passuk, where God commands Moshe to: “Go up [to] Har Nevo … and see the Land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Children of Israel”. The key to this passuk is the words “Children of Israel.” God is telling Moshe to see the land which is being given to the Children of Israel. Moshe, as the “father” of the Jewish nation, is able rejoice in the success and inheritance of his “children,” despite knowing full well that he would not physically enter the land.

When dealing with one’s family, and especially one’s children, there has to be no such thing as jealousy or resentment. A child’s success is the success of the parents, and vice versa.

However, this is easier said than done, as jealousy is inherent in human nature, with the commandment to not be envious of others being literally the final one of the ten commandments. So how are we able to get our thoughts of jealousy to not control us or even to use others’ successes as a positive for oneself?

Moralistic reasons aside, let’s take a slightly different approach as to why jealousy isn’t good for us. This approach is purely for selfish self-interest, in that jealousy holds us back on our path to success, as it consumes our thought cycle in negative ways. This is because when we let jealousy build, we let it take up space in our head rent free, not necessarily overwhelming us, but not allowing our brain to be occupied with the thoughts of the different paths we would need to take in order to succeed.

On the other hand, drawing inspiration instead of jealousy from others’ accomplishments propels us forward, as it doesn’t take up any additional space, and if anything, frees us mental space. Additionally, inspiration sparks drive and inner strength inside us. Strength we might not even have known that we had (on a side note, its amazing how little we have to look for inspiration, if we are truly seeking it).

In life, there are people who get jealous of other people’s success and there are those who get inspired by other people’s success. Guess which type is more likely to be successful themselves.

Shabbat Shalom!

About the Author
StevenZvi grew up in Brooklyn and in his professional life worked in the healthcare industry in New York City. Wishing to create additional meaning and purpose in his life, he moved to Jerusalem in November 2020, where he lives with his wife, works in the Medical Technology space and volunteers for Hatzalah. He uses his writing capabilities as a healthy outlet not to receive money, recognition or fame. It’s his hope that his articles will have some positive impact on the Jewish nation and humanity worldwide. He may not live forever, but his contributions to society might.
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