Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Jealousy

By Rabbi Daniel Travis

When [Yosef] told [his dream] to his father and brothers, his father scolded him and said to him, “What kind of dream did you have? Do you expect me, your mother, and your brothers to come bow down to the ground before you?” (Bereshith 37:10)

Yaakov’s response to Yosef is somewhat disturbing. Why did Yaakov criticize Yosef so harshly if Yosef was his dearest son? Although Yaakov knew that Yosef’s dreams were true, he attempted to dispel his other sons’ jealousy, by pretending to doubt the truth of the dreams.1

Why would Yaakov, whom we know as the pillar of truth in this world, resort to painting a false picture of reality, simply to avert a jealous reaction? Arousing the jealousy of others is always a dangerous thing, and one can never know how far the ripples of jealousy will travel. For this reason, one must be extremely wary of saying anything that might become a cause for jealousy. The reason Yehudah – and not Yosef – was chosen to be king of Israel was that Yosef aroused the jealousy of the people with whom he lived. This flaw was serious enough to cause him to lose the leadership status that was meant to be his.2 Especially with regard to Yosef’s dreams, Yaakov’s fears were fully justified.

On an earlier occasion, after leaving Lavan’s house, Yaakov utilized a similar tactic. When he first met Esav, he understood that Esav was probably still angry that Yaakov had taken his blessings. If Esav heard that Yaakov had become wealthy in Lavan’s house, it would only add fuel to the fire of Esav’s jealousy. Yaakov thus told Esav that he possessed “a cow and a donkey,”3 although in reality he had been blessed with much wealth and many possessions.4

On a practical level, if someone asks us about our financial situation and the answer might cause him to envy us, it is best not to reveal to him all the facts. If we find ourselves in a situation in which we can think of no way to avoid telling him everything, it is permissible to tell him that our assets are less than they actually are.5

Footnotes:

1 Or HaChaim on Bereshith 37:10.
2 Abrabanel, Bereshith 48:23.
3 Bereshith 32:5.
4 Midrash Tanchuma, Vayishlach 3.
5 This is the ruling of Rav Eliashiv, cited in Titein Emeth L’Yaakov


Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

They Can Assure a Cure
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

The Red Heifer Reality
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

You Can’t Get More Local or Global Than That!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

ArtScroll

Final Destination
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

9th of Av: Reasons for Fasting - Part 2
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Body Language
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

> Listen to the Mussar
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Manifestations of Mourning
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

17th of Tammuz: Why We Fast - Part 2
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Confusing Causation
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5768

Ramban: Why was Parshas Nedarim given over specifically to "Roshei haMatos?"
- 5771

Confronting "I"
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

An Oath
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

9th of Av: Reasons for Fasting - Part 1
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

One Heart
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

Why Should We Remember?
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5768



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information