The event that’s often targeted as the beginning point of the story of Pesach (Passover) is the moment Yoseph (Joseph) was thrown into the pit by his jealous brothers. This is what brought Yoseph to Egypt, eventually leading to the enslavement of the Jewish people.
So I guess we can say that jealousy set in motion the terrible things we endured under Egyptian domination. And there’s certainly a lesson to be learned from this.
But what’s the lesson exactly? Don’t be jealous? What’s the opposite of jealousy?
According to Rabbi Ari Kahn in the video below, the opposite of jealousy seems to be complacency: be happy with what you have. Is that really an ideal? How do you improve if you say you are exactly what God wants you to be, you have exactly what God wants you to have?
Maybe some jealousy, appropriately placed, is a good thing. What would this world be like if no one ever said, “I’m as good as I get.”
Or are we supposed to say, “No, no: my life is half full…?”