Showing posts with label Jealousy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jealousy. Show all posts

June 22, 2019

Four Types of Desire

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "I Want What I Want."

There are four types of greed/jealousy:
  • I want what I’m missing
  • I want what I had
  • I want what you have
  • I want you to not have what you have

We can be slaves to our egos, emotions, and desires, or we can seek to control them and be better than mere animals. We have a soul, a conscience, and the Torah, so the choice should be clear even if not always easy.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 5, 2017

Thou Shalt Not

Interesting speech by the Rabbi today in synagogue. 

What stood out to me was when he talked about the Ten Commandments, particularly the 2nd set of five. 

And how some people hear what they want to hear. 

All of the 2nd five start with "Thou shalt not,"  but there are those people that only hear the part that comes after those words. 

So for example: Thou shalt not kill...steal...commit adultery...lie...desire.

But not everyone listens to the "Thou shalt not" and instead they just hear--selectively:

- Kill
- Steal
- Commit adultery
- Lie
- Desire

If you take out the "Thou shalt nots," you are left with a list of terrible and evil deeds.

How convenient for those who are looking for the upper hand and pleasures in life--get rich quick, get and maintain power, take whatever and whomever you want and when you want it--no matter who it belongs to or how they feel.

Like the good angel and bad angel sitting over our shoulders and one says don't do the bad thing and the other encourages us to do!

Who you going to listen to? 

Not everyone seems to care--they live for today and forget about tomorrow. 

Yet every misdeed leaves a tarnish on our soul, while every good deed adds a merit. 

And if there is no justice in the end then who the hell wants to be in such a world anyway. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 3, 2017

Satisfied and Bless G-d

I loved Chabad Rabbi Schneur Kaplan's speech today in synagogue.

It was about how we can learn to be happy with what we have in life.

The biggest marketing gimmick is to say to the guy, "Look at what your neighbor has next door!"

Jealousy, desire, greed, having more and better than the next guy/girl...

That's what many people live for and how they think.

Some can have as much as the founders of Apple, Google, and Facebook combined and still it's not enough.

If just one person has something more...it can drive that person crazy.

Like Haman on Purim, who had wealth, power, large family and everyone bowed down to him...

Except one person named Mordecai who wouldn't bow.

And despite having everything, but missing that one thing drove Haman so crazy--it was his downfall!

When we eat, we can be satisfied with one slice of pizza and say grace or we can have four slices and still not be satisfied.

How do we look at things?

We can be grateful for whatever we have and say that G-d gave us just what we needed at this time and place.

Or we can look at what we don't have, and forever be bitter and unsatisfied.

What joy we can experience in life when we realize the graciousness for what G-d has bestowed on us and we are thankful for what we have. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 2, 2017

Why We Fight?

Well first of all, let me say that I really liked this image on Google the other day. 

Beautiful to see the diversity and brotherhood (and including those with disabilities)!

I had a an interesting conversation with my daughter the other day about why people often don't get along. 

She said something that I thought was really astute:

"If there were unlimited resources, then no one would have a reason to fight!"

Think about that a moment...

Everyone feels they don't have enough or someone else has more then them or they are afraid they won't get their share, and so what happens?

Like jealous little children, we fight for the pail and shovel in the sandbox. 

Only as adults, our sandbox is a lot bigger and it involves hate, bigotry, racism and deadly weapons including guns, knives, and even nukes!

So this isn't the Garden of Eden where everyone prances around free and with plenty and nothing to worry about. 

Instead, everyone has to work "by the sweat of your brow," and there are limits to what we have, and there is fighting over who has what.

Yes, truly "greed is the root of all evil."

What we need to learn and internalize is that it's more important how we act towards each other than what we have and that the real gold in life is the good we do and not the plenty we amass. 

Sure we each need enough to be able to survive and excel as human beings, but it's fool's gold that prevents us from seeing each other as the real brothers and sisters we all are. 

If only we had enough--in both perception and reality--then peace could reign among mankind. ;-)

(Source Photo: Google)
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September 4, 2016

The Evil Stink Eye

So there is an important Jewish (and non-Jewish) concept of the evil eye (in hebrew, it's called an "Ayin Hara").

This is the idea that people who are jealous of you or simply don't like you, can wish bad (or evil to befall) on you. 

And the more people or the more merits these people have in life that cast this evil wish (in mystical terms, some may call it a spell), perhaps the stronger the potency of it on you. 

Superstition or real? This is a matter of what you believe in and maybe experiences you've had in life have taught you to beware of when others don't wish you well. 

This is why many righteous people try to avoid the limelight--they don't want others to focus on them and harbor bad feelings toward them. 

Better in a sense to remain more private and discrete than suffer the evil eye of others. 

If we understand that there are not only physical powers in the universe, but also spiritual and metaphysical ones, then we may choose to protect ourselves by shielding ourselves from the public eyes of jealousy and hate.

Others may choose to do extra charity, prayer, and good deeds in an effort to protect themselves from competitors and antagonists in life. 

It's funny, but when my wife sees someone she perceives giving another the evil eye, she calls it, "The stink eye!"

And truly, it does stink that people can be so mean and hateful to others, but unfortunately, not everyone in life is nice and good.

It takes all types, and that is why it's critical to avoid those evil glances, feelings, and thoughts of others.

Hurt can take many forms--words and deeds are the two that we recognize most often. 

However, we shouldn't discount the harm that thoughts and feelings can cause as well. 

The mind and spirit of humans can reach out and up to the Heavens, and so we must live our lives good to G-d as well to people, and Bli Ayin Hara (without the evil eye) for blessings and not for curses. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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November 27, 2015

Only Game In Town

This was a funny sign up in Harpers Ferry yesterday, Thanksgiving Day. 

Outside this restaurant, it says, "Only OPEN Place in Town, GREAT Food."

I suppose if it's the only game in town, then whatever food they have is by definition "great"-compared to going hungry that is. 

Life is very much like this--where everything is relative. 

If I have too many choices--how do I choose? 

Whatever I choose, I may second guess myself that maybe another one would've been better. 

It's like when I go out with my daughter to eat, somehow whatever she orders is always better than what I got!

But when choice is limited or non-existent, well then "beggars can't be choosey."

Essentially, your happy with what you have-- perhaps, something is often better than nothing. 

But really it's much more than that, because if you look closely at others, you realize that what you have is actually a pretty darn good lot in life--so don't be envious, jealous, or be too quick to want to change places with your neighbor. 

Obviously, this was a very apropos sign for Thanksgiving--where we need to learn to be grateful for everything we have in life. 

It is our basket, and we wouldn't want to trade it for anything in the world (and if you did, you'd be sorry afterwards). ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 24, 2015

Appreciating G-d's Gifts


Today, I heard a fascinating speech from Rabbi Haim Ovadia of Magen David Synagogue that put a beautiful new perspective on the Ten Commandments.

He explained how the commandments are not just commandments, but actually a covenant between G-d and mankind.  

G-d gave man gifts of:

1) FREEDOM and choice (He is the L-rd who brought you out of bondage)
2) DIVINITY, a direct spiritual connection (Thou shalt have no idols)
3) PRAYER, heartfelt (Thou shalt not take G-d's name in vain)
4) SABBATH, day of rest (On the seventh day thou shalt do no work)
5) FAMILY (Honor thy father and mother).

In turn, G-d asks that we appreciate His gifts to us, and not take from others what isn't ours:

1) LIFE (Don't murder)
2) Another Man's WIFE (Don't commit adultery)
3) THINGS (Don't steal)
4) DUE PROCESS/JUSTICE (Don't bear false witness)
5) Someone else's BLESSINGS (Don't covet, and essentially bring an "evil eye" on them)

This interpretation is sort of the ah-ha in the Ten Commandments, which otherwise some would say, "what's so novel or special about G-d telling us not to do these bad things--wouldn't we already know (many of) these ourselves?"

But what is novel here is that the Ten Commandments is a whole philosophy of thinking about life, one where we appreciate G-d's many gifts to us, but where we control our animal instincts and in turn act spiritually.

Thank you G-d for the many wonderful gifts, and for giving us the opportunity to elevate ourselves and be satisfied with our lot in life. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 3, 2014

The Happiness Meter

Ever realize that no matter how hard you strive for happiness, it almost always seems just as elusive. 

There are many explanations for this:

Of course, it could also be that just because you think something will make you happy, doesn't mean it will. Often, the fantasy does not live up to the reality, and so rather than achieve happiness, we end up disappointed. 

Another explanation, from economics, is the law of diminishing marginal utility that tells us that more of a good thing, does not make us incrementally happier, rather the benefit and satisfaction that we receive from each additional unit of consumption is lower.  Let's face it, the 5th mouthful of chocolate cream pie is not as satisfying at the first, second, or third. And at a certain point, you actually will want to puke! 

The Wall Street Journal had a brilliant piece on this that explained this from an evolutionary perspective--fitter organisms are more likely to survive and reproduce, so every time we make a positive decision in our life, rather than find happiness, our "happiness meter" resets to zero, forcing us to make the next positive move in our life to make us better, if not necessarily happier. In other words, keeping us unhappy, forces us into perpetual striving. 

So while happiness has been correlated with our genetic makeup, life events, and values (New York Times) or even exercise, altruism, and supportive relationships (CNN), real happiness comes from living a life of meaning, where we find satisfaction in the journey itself, and not rely only on the destination. 

For example, Buddhists understand that life is suffering and that we need to escape the hamster wheel of jealousy, aimless external desire, and quenchless ambition and instead seek to do good and find inner contentment. 

One colleague (ex-army) of mine used to say, "everyday that I am not in Iraq and Afghanistan is a good day" and perhaps we need to think in those terms too, as we all know things can always be worse, so we would do well to find happiness not just in what we have or achieve, but in thanksgiving for what we are spared as well.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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