Parsha: Korach (2023)

How do can we deal with jealousy and envy?
It’s sometimes feels natural, to be envious of those who achieve more, and are more successful.

“If only I had the life he/she has…”

This week’s Parsha, speaks about this very idea.

Korach was a man who wanted a position that wasn’t meant for him. He was jealous, and tried to grab that which isn’t his.

He struggled with the success of others. He wasn’t able to celebrate the appointment of his fellow colleagues to a higher position.

The Talmud teaches us “a person is Jealous of everyone besides their child or student.”

The reason for this is, because a student or a child’s achievement is part of our own success. We don’t view it as competition or a threat, but rather as an extension of our own success. We don’t consider the student on the “opposing team,rather identify with them. We consider them a fellow teammate scoring a “goal” for us all.

The Talmud is giving us a way out of jealousy. When we make others feel part of “our team”, the feeling of jealousy will be diminished. It up to us, to decide how broad we make our team, and how many people include in that closeness. The more we do that, the less jealousy we will feel.

Furthermore, Hashem gives us everything we need to fulfill our mission in life.

A doctor wouldn’t covet a repairman’s screwdriver, nor would the repairman covet the doctor’s stethoscope. Neither would be able to do his job with the other’s tools. Similarly, our material possessions and circumstances are needed to best play our earthly roles in the script of life that we are given.

Whatever we have, or don’t have , is necessary for our mission. It’s not the part we play that matters; what matters is how well we play the part. Jealousy distracts a person from accomplishing what s/he has been placed in the world to achieve.

Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Zalman