Anger and Jealousy
The Torah tells us that Eisav hated his brother Yaakov "because their father blessed him." The commentators point out that Eisav's disappointment at not receiving the blessings was not because he valued the blessings of his father. In fact, they explain, he could not have cared less about them.
What angered him was the fact that his brother Yaakov got something that he did not get. If his brother got a blessing he too wanted a blessing.
We find a similar idea elsewhere in the Torah. After G-d accepted the offering of Hevel and rejected that of Kayin, G-d asks Kayin why he was angry. But wasn't it clear why he was angry?
His sacrifice was just rejected by G-d! Rav Chaim of Brisk explains that G-d was asking Kayin to reflect on the "real" reason for his anger. Was he angry because his sacrifice was rejected or because Hevel's was accepted?!
In truth, we must all ask ourselves this question. If we are failing in our business and we hear of a friend's success are we upset at our losses or are we angry because our friend is succeeding? When we flunk a test in school are we angered even more because our fellow students have passed?
The Torah tells us we must love others as we love ourselves. Are we truly fulfilling this commandment? When we congratulate our friend for buying a new house are we truly happy for him or is our smile covering up our jealousy?
Rabbi Benzion Abba Shaul writes that fulfilling the commandment of loving others as we love ourselves, doesn't just mean feeling bad for them and helping them when they are hit with a tragedy. It also means being truly happy for others when things go well for them.
This is something all of us must work on. Anger and jealousy will get us nowhere. It will only lead us to a bitter and frustrating life. The more we improve ourselves in this matter the happier our lives will be. This is the secret recipe for a more fulfilling life. Try it out and you'll see for yourselves.
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