Parashas Korach

A major theme in this week’s parashah is jealousy. Although we can cannot equate Korach’s mindset to the cruder forms of jealousy that we deal with in our own lives, this week is nonetheless an opportune time to delve into the topic of jealousy. I present here a digest of the Maggid’s teachings on this topic from Sefer HaMiddos, Shaar HaSinah, Chapter 2.
Jealousy takes two main forms. The more common form is a sense of agitation that comes upon a person when he sees that someone else has something he lacks. He feels that he  ought to have what the other person has. This is a serious mistake. In truth, a person has nothing coming to him. His very existence is a gift from Hashem. All the more so the assets that Hashem, in His wisdom, decided to grant him. When a person covets someone else’s assets, he displays gross ingratitude for Hashem’s kindness toward him. A person must rejoice in what Hashem gave him. If he broods over what he does not have, Hashem may take away what He has given him, since he evidently does not properly appreciate it. A person should think to himself: “How would I feel if I gave someone a gift, and I saw he was upset that I did not give him more?” If a person feels a need, he can ask Hashem to fulfill it, but he must do so humbly, not by issuing brash complaints.
A person must also realize that Hashem assigned everyone his own special role, and granted each person what he needs to carry out his role. If somehow a person got hold of something Hashem did not intend to give him, having done so would in no way make him better equipped to fulfill his role. Moreover, people have different natures. Some are quick to get angry, while others are tolerant and compassionate. Some are stingy, while others are generous. Hashem tailors what He gives a person to his nature. He grants wealth to the generous and unassuming, who will give liberally to others and not grow haughty. To others he grants more limited material assets, in order to lead them to focus on Torah study, to counter tendencies toward haughtiness and belligerence, or for some other reason. It will not help a person to have something that Hashem did not see fit to give him; in fact, if he did, it would ruin him. We must recognize that Hashem created each of us, and, accordingly, knows what is best for each of us. We then will come to appreciate what we have.
The other form of jealousy, even worse than the the first one, is a drive to be superior to others. This form of jealousy is a sort of mirror image of the first form: a person who is stricken with it is not hoping to get what others have, but rather is hoping that others do not get what he has. The first form of jealousy can produce good, as when a person is spurred to advance in wisdom when he encounters a person wiser than he. The second form, by contrast, has no such potential. The person who harbors it seeks merely to knock others down. A person must realize that, just as Hashem is his Creator and Father, He is his fellow man’s Creator and Father as well. Hashem regards with contempt those who relate to others with ill will. When a person seeks to diminish others, Hashem may respond by diminishing him.
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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