Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Do Not Covet Part 5

We have completed the halachic (legal) issues relating to the mitzvo of ’Do not Covet’. It is now important to discuss some of the philosophical aspects of this mitzvo.

The commentaries discuss why it is wrong to covet someone else‘s item. The early commentator, the Ibn Ezra, offers a useful analogy to help understand the Torah’s outlook on what one’s attitude should be towards material possessions. He tells us to imagine a lowly peasant man who sees a beautiful princess. If he is of sound mind, he will not contemplate marrying her, because he is well aware that she is not designated for him, because she is in a completely different social sphere. In a similar vein, everything that a person has is given to him from HaShem and anything that he does not need is not given to him. Therefore, the property of another person has no relevance to him - it is completely out of his sphere of ownership.

This idea is developed further by an illuminating saying of the Sages. They tell us that righteous people are very careful about looking after their material possessions because they know that they did not acquire anything dishonestly[1]. As we said above, everything that a person owns is given to him from HaShem. However, this is on condition that it was acquired in an honest fashion. A righteous person recognizes that since he is totally honest, whatever he has been given or acquired is necessary for him to properly serve HaShem. Accordingly, he is very careful not to damage or lose his property, because to do so, would make it very difficult to achieve his purpose. With this in mind, it is evident that acquiring other people’s property is totally unnecessary for a person to achieve his life potential. By definition, anything that his fellow owns is not needed for him. Therefore, it is fruitless for him to try to attain it from his friend.

With this attitude a person can learn to become far more satisfied with his lot.


1. Chullin, 91a.


 

Text Copyright © 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org

Visit Rabbi Gefen's new blog at rabbiygefen.blogspot.com.

Rabbi Gefen's new book, The Guiding Light, is now available! To order, please contact Rabbi Gefen at Gefen123@smile.net.il or 00972 52 761 9935.


 

ARTICLES ON TERUMAH:

View Complete List

An Offering We Can't Refuse
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Teaching Limits
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

The Other Half
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

> Do You Measure Up?
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Where Heaven Meets Earth
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Always Giving Charity with a Full Heart
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The True "Gift" of Life
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

G’d’s Context in This Existence
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5772

Torah - Blueprint for Life
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

ArtScroll

The Divine Expectation
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5762

Keruv or Karov?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

There’s No Place Like Home
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

Looking for a Chavrusah?

To Dwell Within You
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Join Us!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5776

You Shall Have A Dream
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

“The Love you Take”
Jon Erlbaum - 5770



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