Jealousy rears its ugly head when we’re least expecting it. We may feel jealous of our friend’s summer vacation plans, our brother’s charisma and charm, or our colleague’s corner office. We may be envious of people we love and people we don’t even know. We might resent a model’s shiny hair, thin waist and radiant smile, or a singer’s ability to hit an F-sharp. However, envy fogs our ability to think straight and make good choices.
In this week’s Torah reading, Lekh-Lekha, Sarah was jealous of her maid Hagar. Hagar easily became pregnant while Sarah struggled to conceive. Resentment of Hagar’s good fortune caused Sarah to treat Hagar harshly.
There will always be times when we find ourselves fueled by jealousy. However, like Sarah, we must realize that envy leads us to make poor choices and treat others unfairly. Moreover, jealousy leads us to feel dissatisfied with our own lives so that we don’t appreciate our own good fortune. As opposed to looking over someone else’s shoulder and wanting what he or she has, try to examine the blessings in your own life. When you feel jealous, remember that others are probably jealous of you as well. Try to stand in their shoes and appreciate all the wonderful things you have in your life.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS about the dangers of jealousy.
CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
- When have you been jealous of others?
- Why would someone feel jealous of you?
- How can you remember your own good fortune when you feel envious of others?
By Yael Hammerman
Values & Ethics—Through a Jewish Lens is created by Fred and Joyce Claar to bring the wisdom of Judaism into family discussions.