Eliminating Jealousy with the Chassidic Masters
MyLife Essay Contest 2017
JEALOSY IN THE TORAH
It’s one of the Ten Commandments. You learn it from a very young age. The Zohar states: (1) ‘the last commandment is against Coveting, for this principle incorporates all the other nine…….’
Pirkei Avos, Ethics of the Fathers brings several warnings and instructions regarding Jealousy: (2) ‘Rabbi Yehoshua says jealousy can destroy a person’s life and drive him from the world.
(3) Rabi Elazar Hakapar says Jealousy leads to no good, removing a person from the World to Come, and prevent him from enjoying his life in this world, because he will never feel satisfied.
Pirkey Avos also mentions (4) that one who has the trait of jealousy is considered a student of the wicked Bilam.’
Numerous stories of jealousy are mentioned in the Torah starting from Kayin and Hevel where Kayin killed Hevel due to his feelings of jealousy, ‘he felt annoyed and dejected’(5). The story of Rochel and Leah (6). Yosef and his brothers who sold him as a slave. Shaul was jealous of King David when they came back from war because David was given more recognition (7).
The Midrash Raba (8) states that Moses had some jealousy towards Yehoshua and his learning capabilities but he ended up saying ‘better one hundred deaths than one jealousy’.
The Talmud Bavly (9) does speak of a positive type of jealousy, ‘the jealousy of the sages adds wisdom’ but this is a jealousy not directed at any one individual and is not to meant to cause harm. Jealousy in spiritual matters, can be a good thing, it can show us what we want to achieve and we can get there. Jealousy in physical matters leaves you in the never ending pursuit to no positive end (10).
YET……..drumroll…….we find ourselves experiencing Jealousy on a daily basis! It seems inevitable, uncontrollable, part of our DNA, an intrinsic habit. We know it leads to zero good. We know it serves to bring us way down, sometimes incapacitated, in deep despair. We know that following the train of a jealous thought leads us straight to our lowest self. That toxic place of no return…….
YET all day long there seems to be opportunities for Jealousy. Just walk out your front door – maybe your neighbor has a nicer car, house, lawn……..you go to the grocery store – noticing the lady in the fur coat with her cart full of groceries and think – ‘here I am counting my pennies…..’. Maybe you go to a class and wish you were the teacher! Maybe you think you are nothing. Maybe you open a magazine and sink into despair about your extra 20 lbs. and ‘lack’ of beauty. Maybe your friend’s husband/wife gives so much more than your husband/wife. Maybe you open Facebook and see how everybody else seems to have a life, friends, purpose, confidence…..the list goes on and on and on.
We live in a society that rounds us up from a very young age….gives us labels – smart, academic, bright, pretty, or – NOT. We are exposed to daily competition in the classroom, workplace, and EVERYWHERE!
Our very society is set up for a lifetime of JEALOUSY!
Step into the world of the Chassidic Masters!
Imagine a world where you were taken by the hand at a very young age, or surrounded by the elders when you were born and SEEN for your unique gifts. The Baal Shem Tov loved Hashem/G-ds children beyond imagination! The Maggid said: ‘If only we would kiss the Sefer Torah with the same love that my Master kissed the children as he walked them to cheder as a teacher’s assistant! (11)
The world has been waiting for your unique gifts since the beginning of time. Imagine knowing how precious you are to the extent that you could never possibly be jealous of anybody – ever, because you know so deeply that YOU are here for extremely specific and unique tasks and have deep respect and honor for other’s unique and specific place in the story of life.
How would your life be different if you walked with the confidence that you are carrying utmost importance – such treasures that none of your friends or relatives have, and were able to view other peoples’ gifts as personal, each gift helping to complete YOUR world? If you saw others’ light as a reflection of your own? If you saw others’ beauty, success, triumphs as your own?
Turn to Chassidus for SOLUTIONS
Chassidic philosophy is CHOCK FULL of support for each of our individual soul gifts. Chassidus teaches us how PRECIOUS each one of us is to our CREATOR. We know countless stories of how our Rebbe’s lived their lives for US – thinking of each of us separately and together as a whole.
In one of the first Maamerim the Rebbe said when he took on the leadership, is that a Rebbe is connected to each and every person of the generation on a soul level. It is such a huge responsibility to the point that the Rebbe gives up his very life for each of us. The Rebbeim payed attention to the smallest details of our lives as well. There was never a problem too small for the Rebbe to address, no age too young or too old for the Rebbe to care. Showing us how VITAL we are and constantly reminding and empowering us that we have the power in our hands to rebuild the Third and final Bais Hamikdosh with our thoughts and deeds.
There are over 25 Volumes of individual letters the Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote to people. No two are the same. The Rebbe recognizes and celebrates each of us. Empowering us gently to be our best self. In Hayom Yom for the 20th of Sivan, it talks about how the Rebbe in yechidus with his chassid prescribes an order of avoda appropriate to the nature of the Chassid’s essence-character.
In Hayom Yom, (12) the Rebbe says that the Jewish people are compared to the starts twinkling in the high heavens. By our light, even he who walks in the darkness of night shall not blunder. We possess enough moral and spiritual strength to influence friends and acquaintances, and bring them into the light.
(13) The Alter Rebbe told us that in Gan Eden, they sense the preciousness of this lowly world. The angels would forego everything for one ‘amein y’hei sh’mei raba’ said by a Jew ‘with all his power’. If we only knew this power!! If instead of looking at others with envy, we spend that time and energy looking inside ourselves, digging deep for our own unlimited treasures!!
There is a famous chassidic story of Reb Zusha where he says: In Olam Habah/the World to Come, they will not ask me why I was not like so-and-so. They will ask me whether I was the best Zusha I can be.
What is ‘the best Zusha I can be’?
On the saying: ‘Bishvili nivrah haolam’ – ‘the world was created for me’, (14) The Gemara says whoever destroys a single soul of Israel, the Torah considers it as if he had destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves one soul it’s as if he saved an entire world. The Yad Rama there says ‘the world was created for me’ is a matter of how Hashem sees you – that you are so valuable in Hashem’s eyes. You were created with a unique self and psyche, that the world was created just for your unique self! The world being created for you means that you are obligated to know who you are – your unique qualities and attributes – and what your purpose is in the world.
Chassidus empowers us to GO OUT OF our own EGYPT
Exploring ‘yetzias mitzrayim/exodus from Egypt helps us learn an essential foundation of our relationship with ourselves and Hashem.
The time of the Exodus and the splitting of the Red Sea, was a testament to our intrinsic worth. It was also a Divine reflection of our own G-dly souls. We know that we are a direct manifestation of G-dliness. If we do not know G-d, we do not know ourselves. Furthermore, at the time of Yetzias Mitzraim, each of us were on the level of prophet. Even unborn children had prophesy as we sang ‘Az yashir’ together. This is our DNA. This is who we are. We have the power to go out of Mitzraim on a daily basis.
Jealousy is the fast track to Mitzrayim. Jealousy keeps us bound, chained, in our own prison cell of the mind. It is our Divine Duty to get to know ourselves on the deepest level. We MUST explore who we are, what our talents and capabilities, what are our gifts, especially through the eyes of the G-d who took US out of Egypt and believes in us THAT MUCH!!!! We must spend time developing ourselves, stretching ourselves in every way, learning as much as we can, getting to know the capacity of our Minds, Bodies and Souls in order to develop the inner fortitude – the power to transform the world around us like only we, as individuals, with individual gifts and unique character traits can.
Chassidus for THE MIND BODY AND SOUL
By feeding and nurturing our own Minds, Bodies and Souls, we blossom into the powerful creatures we were meant to be. Learn Chassidic philosophy! The more you learn, the more you will understand your own essential self. Your Soul is longing to speak and guide you through life with zero jealousy. Your body is unique as well. There are no two bodies exactly the same. Honor the body you have by going to Mikveh, following Shulchan Aruch – protecting it from harm, and feeding it healthy food for maximum function. Feed it spiritual food by following the Torah’s guidelines for rejoicing with special food on Shabbos and Yom Tov!
The body is the keli for the soul on earth. When we are done with our journey in this world the body is honored by specific preparation for Techiyas Hameisim. Do not compare your body and despair! What a waste of your precious energy! Honor the workings of your body by giving gratitude through saying daily brachos and asher yatzar. Be gentle with your body. It is your souls’ home.
The greatest gift we can give the world, our families, our communities and ourselves, is the gift of our wholeness, our fullness. Imagine a world powered by Full Whole Joyous beings collectively bringing their G-dly gifts to the planet on a daily basis. You matter. You are unique. Get to know yourself, you are an amazing creation. Like no other.
- Zohar 3:77
- Pirkei Avos 2:11
- Pirkei Avos 4:21 based on Mishli 14:30
- Pirkei Avos 5:19
- Bereshit 4:5
- Bereshit 30:1
- Shmuel 1 18:8
- Madrash Raba Devorim 9:9
- Talmud Bava Basra 21:1
- Hayom yom 24th Cheshvan
- Hayom yom 16th Tammuz
- Hayom yom 5th Cheshvan
- Hayom yom 17th Adar 1
- Talmud Sanhedrin 37A