Question:

I just don’t understand one thing. Why does it say in the Torah to work hard in being and do good. You work very hard to be the best person that you can possibly be. Not easy at all. To watch your ears, eyes and mouth. Be a kiddish Hashem everywhere and anywhere you go. You reached the highest levels in character trait. Next thing you know, you got a whole load of people trying to destroy you due to envy. What’s the point of everyone working hard and reaching the highest of levels and boom people start to hate, hurt and destroy you. I know that g-d won’t allow that to happen. But it’s still hard to always feel different from everyone. Can you explain this concept of why being good is important but also can result in feeling very different from everyone and how to battle with that daily. Thank you.

Answer:

Sounds like you are having a hard time, let’s try to clarify things.

The torah teaches us to strive for personal perfection, to purify our neshoma and to make ourselves as similar to G-d as we can. Meaning, that we should perfect our character traits as best as we can, do H-shem’s will and seek to get close to Him as much as we can. Yes, when a person strives for perfection and perfects them self, other people will notice it. This could lead to jealousy, but there is a way to combat that jealousy. We have to try to make sure that our drive for perfection doesn’t negatively affect others, or better yet we have to try to create a situation where the person that is jealous of us benefits from our perfection. As a general rule, (of course there will always be exceptions) when a person benefits from another person’s fortunes or success, it help to quell the jealousy, because the person then feels that he also has a part of the good fortune. For example, a person who wins the lottery, or makes a lot of money and therefore helps other people, and does chesed to all of those that he knows, will not suffer from their being jealous, because they gained from his wealth, and they are even happy about it.

Living in Eretz Yisroel, I once lived in an area where only a small percentage of the people could afford to own a car. A certain friend of mine got a car, and he was more than willing to lend it to others, give people a hitch or drive them places when they had a need. People were happy for him, and were not at all jealous. Another example, there is minhag that when a boy becomes a chosson he gives out candies to his friends, and to the people he meets right after getting engaged. One of the reasons or this minhag is to prevent an ayin hora- an evil eye. How does this prevent an ayin hora? By giving out candies to his friends, even though some of them will be jealous of his good fortune, but they have gained by it, and it quells the jealousy (at least somewhat).

It is unfortunate, but one of the challenges of baalei teshvuva is how to handle their parents, who often feel betrayed and hurt by what their child has. One of the tips that mentors of these baalei teshuva gives is that the child should treat the parent with respect, and show with actions (not merely words) that they are respected. With time the parents often see that they didn’t lose their child to religion, on the contrary, they gained a child who now treats them with more respect than they did beforehand. Of course each person has their unique situation, and this is only meant as a general rule.

Therefore a way to stem the jealousy would be to treat those who are jealous of your with a smile, try to help them, tell them a good word, and let them gain from the perfection that you have accomplished. Hopefully this will either eradicate the jealousy or at least curtain it.

Have a happy Chanukah

Tags: hashkafa jealousy

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