Parsha: Vayishlach (2023)

How do we respond to success? What’s the Jewish way to react when we finally achieved what we have been working for, over a long period of time?

In many circles it can be a moment of feeling bigger and better about ourselves, perhaps even haughty and overconfident.

Yaakov our forefather has a completely opposite response.
When he was blessed with a beautiful family, wealth, and everything he could wish for, his response is quite surprising.

He said ״קטנתי״ -“I have become small.”

This is the Jewish response.
This is also a path to inner content and happiness.
He was humble and didn’t feel he deserved it all, and he was receiving this all out of Hashem’s kindness.

Yaakov, had the perspective that all of these things are really a pure gift from G-d.

The more he receives the more he feels unworthy of receiving such goodness. And the more he realises that these are pure gifts that he doesn’t deserve, the more joy and happiness he experiences.

This what the Zohar teaches us about contentment. When we receive a gift we always accept it with joy. A gift! Wow! How wonderful!
In contrast when we earn a reward or try to collect our deserved share, there is room for discontentment and quarrelling.

The Zohar concludes and encourages us to look at the good things in life as if they are “gifts.”

The word ״קטנתי״ teaches us to stay levelled, stable and grateful after success.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Zalman & Esty