I love Shabbat.
This lesson of the week is very powerful, about gratitude, staying present to your blessings, and realizing that having it all is being happy with what you have.
The first time death happens in The Bible is in the form of the murder of one brother at the hand of another, motivated by jealousy. Envy is one of Milton’s cardinal sins. It’s also forbidden by the Ten Commandments, a rare instance where we are told how to feel. The more jealous a person, the more miserable. Some of the poorest people are the most materially wealthy who are never satisfied because someone else has more. Jealousy is all consuming. In Farsi we say the jealous person never rests, never experiences peace. Envy can lead to crime, even murder. Envy kills joy. That’s why it’s so important to teach our children to always be happy with their lot. Gratitude is the anti- envy. Gratitude can be learned and practiced. To some of us it comes naturally, but to some jealousy comes is the natural inclination. Parents can also teach children jealousy by what they say and how they act when they walk away from someone’s home, or after a party, forgetting their children are always watching and listening. As the Talmud says, the richest person is the one satisfied with his or her lot. May we be filled with joy and gratitude. Amen.