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Jealousy: "That David, I Can’t Stand Him Anymore!''

Published on Sunday December 15th, 2019

That David, I can't stand him anymore! Everyone I meet talks to me about him:

"Are you from New York? You went to Jewish Academy? Do you know David? What an incredible startup story. He is only 25 years old and is already a millionaire, it's crazy! In addition, his wife went to one of the best seminaries, a real Tzaddeket. They help poor people a lot. They really have everything going for them ... "

To say that I was much better than him at football and that he cheated on me in class…

Me? Jealous?! Chas Veshalom! It's just that he did so badly in school ... Actually, I only feel this with him and I do not know why. As soon as someone tells me about David, my childhood friend now a millionaire, and his wife the Tzaddeket, I get butterflies in my stomach!
Who Can Swear to Have no Davids in His Heart?

A person is only jealous of people who resemble him. Nobody is deeply jealous of Bill Gates to the point of being ill from it. This is normal because our relationship to failure or success is measured by those we frequent: our class friends, our colleagues, our cousins, our neighbours, our brothers and sisters, and so on.

Everything begins at school when sheets and notes are handed out. Once an adult, we continue to compare our successes to those of others, whether professionally, sentimentally, educationally or materially.

When an individual's business venture is failing whereas his competitor is succeeding, he inevitably wonders about the reasons for his failure and the success of his competitor.

Watch out for this slippery slope towards jealousy which, according to our Sages, is also the primary source of the evil eye!

Certainly, it is difficult not to look at others when our children have difficulties in school, or when we have Shalom Bayit problems: "Why is my husband not attentive whilst my friend's husband is constantly buying her presents? "

Rav Brand rightly said in one of his classes: "If I did not know that my neighbor had jam, I would be very happy with bread and butter!"

If it is so hard for a man not to feel jealousy, how can he keep the Tenth Commandment enjoining him not to covet what belongs to his neighbor?

Work on this Character Trait

Orchot Tzaddikim encourages us to proceed as follows:

  1. Become aware of the disastrous consequences that this character trait has on everyone who is envious. When we do not understand why another person has something that we do not have, sadness envelops us. Instead of seeing everything that Hashem gives us, we focus on what we are missing, and we lose a good taste for things. Even worse, we may end up hating another person and wishing them harm. Thus, the mere fact of coming in contact with them becomes difficult because it reminds us of our lack, making us feel miserable.

  1. Get away from the people you are jealous of because when you do not see another person's possessions you will not be envious.

  2. Strengthen your emunah (faith) by learning to appreciate all the goodness that G-d gives you, and by becoming convinced in the very depth of your being that Hashem gives everyone exactly what they need to build themselves.

  3. Transform this defect into a good quality. Instead of telling yourself why so-and-so has and not us, let us ask ourselves what is the quality that allows him to live in this way, and then try and emulate him.

Do not get me wrong, the fight against envy is difficult because it is a true reflection of my efforts in Emunah and it is the requires passage towards true happiness.

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