Commentary on Parashat Korach, Numbers 16:1 - 18:32
Jealousy is resentment against another’s success or advantage. There is almost always a deeper, inner insecurity that is causing the jealousy. Someone’s success or advantage does not automatically cause another to feel jealous. Rather, it somehow triggers something deep inside that, in turn, causes the jealousy.
In this week’s Torah portion, Korach, there is dissension amongst the ranks while the Israelites are wandering in the desert. The source of the tension is the way one group of men sees Moses and Aaron. The men believe that Moses and Aaron have taken too much of the leadership upon themselves. But if we keep in mind the fact that Moses and Aaron’s actions must have triggered something in the men themselves, then we must ask: What was truly behind the men’s feelings? And we find our answer just a little further in the text. The men ask if everyone is holy, then why are Moses and Aaron singled out amongst them.
The answer does not really matter to them, because their jealousy clouds their ability to think rationally, and no amount of explanation calms their emotions. It is easy to get worked up about things that seem unfair, especially if they are highlighting dissatisfactions in your own life. If we allow our emotions to take over and we lose rational thought, then our actions can spin out of control. On the other hand, if we are able to identify these feelings in ourselves we can tap into them in a thoughtful way and try to handle things calmly and logically.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS about managing jealousy and maintaining rational thought.
CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
· What events or circumstances make you jealous?
· What are those things triggering inside you?
· What are some ways you can manage those feelings?
· Can you think of a time jealousy kept you from being rational?
From “Values and Ethics: Torah Topics for Today,” available from Behrman House Publishers.
Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses.