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The Neighbor's Mercedes: Stop Being Jealous!

Published on Monday October 8th, 2018

If your neighbor's Mercedes or your friend's trendy iPhone is bothering you…If you feel it's unfortunate that someone else has received such a thing rather than you…If you live with the feeling that it is not "normal" that a relative of yours has succeeded rather than you ... Then the lines below are for you.

There is no doubt that one of the phenomena that has a general influence on a person's psychological state, motivation and self-confidence, and which will determine his or her vision of life, is "jealousy".

Our sages teach us in Pirkei Avot: "Rabbi Eliezer Hakafar says: ''jealousy, envy and honor drive man from this world." (pay attention to the first criterion ...). His intention in this Mishna is neither more nor less than our personal world, a world that can contain a happy life, can very quickly be destroyed due to jealousy.


Let us try to understand where jealousy comes from. Why are we jealous? Why can we not succeed in overcoming it?

Jealousy arises from the feeling that if another person possesses something, it is "on my account" or "in my place" (apparently, there is only one person who can be rich...). This jealousy is based on the certainty that our success and our goals depend solely upon us, and so, it seems to us that the success of others deprives us of opportunities to reach the top...

"Is there a solution?", you ask. "It's a natural and human feeling, what can we do about it?"


I have a good advice…an advice that the Torah offers us, and if we understand it, we would be able to see things differently.

One word: faith.

Yes. Once we are able to admit that everything that happens to us comes from Heaven and that everything we receive or lose, succeed or fail, is G-d's decision, unrelated to our efforts or our abilities, it is possible to understand that "no one can withhold something from someone, not even a hair", and the view of events would be very different: it seems that even if our neighbor has much more than us, it is not "at our expense", nor "in our place", and that does not decrease our possibilities... Everything is still possible...

This explanation came to mind when I read the story of Rabbi Akiva's 24,000 students who died, strangely during the period between Pesach and the 33rd day of the Omer.

The Gemara teaches us that the sin for which they were punished was "a lack of mutual respect". Another version is that it was because of envy.

The reason they were punished for this misconduct during the period between Passover and Shavuot, is that these days are conducive to a preparation for the gift of the Torah. And this requires us to put in special effort and work on our moral behaviour towards our neighbor, because to receive the Torah, one must be filled with an unshakeable faith, without any jealousy, and an awareness of one's neighbor's honor.

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