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The Advantages of Avoiding Jealousy

I recently had the zechus to be by the burial of a very important person. That week I happened to also have heard a shiur discussing different aspects of jealousy. 

Yosef was the epitome of one whose neshama was in total control, which enabled him to escape the trappings of desire and jealousy. Jealousy only comes to one who doesn’t have pure faith in G-d, the opposite of Yosef who was the personification of emunah. G-d was on his lips when meeting the “great” Pharaoh.

His absolute exclusion from jealousy explains a difficult question. It may be asked how Yosef knew with such confidence that his bones would be intact when B'nei Yisroel left Mitzrayim, for he made them swear to it many years earlier. The verse proclaims that the bones of the jealous rot (Mishlei 14:30). Yosef was the epitome of one who rejected all tenets of jealousy, and therefore his bones were sure to be intact. 

Coming off of Purim, a question is asked why Esther didn’t tell Achashverosh about Haman at the first party. Why did she wait until the second? The answer is that at the first party she saw Haman was on top of the world, in great happiness, and she felt nothing could topple such simcha. At the next party, it turned out Haman was already humiliated and therefore his spirit was low, a ripe time to strike. Happy people are of the type that are not jealous and therefore remain untouchable.

The Vilna Gaon holds that our purpose in this world is to perfect our middot. Regarding sin, he holds that if one stumbles in certain sins, then those are the ones he must fix. Jealousy can fall into both categories. It can be a middah that one fails in and it can be a sin that plagues one’s essence and also leads to other sins.

Why does jealousy exist? Only because one doesn’t recognize that everything is exactly as it’s supposed to be. With such probing eyes, one must list their precise blessings and realize that just as it’s important that they have those G-dly blessings, it’s necessary for someone else to have theirs. This leads to a perfect world.