Commentary on Parashat Balak, Numbers 22:2 - 25:9
How do you react when your friend wins a prize or gets a promotion? A common reaction is jealousy. You may feel deficient when you see your neighbor or friend with something that you don’t have. It’s sometimes difficult to remember that all of us have our own set of circumstances that we need to acknowledge and accept. You may be jealous of her new car, while she is jealous that you can stay home all day.
In this week’s portion, Balak, the Moabite king hired a non-Jewish prophet named Balaam to curse the Jewish nation. Balaam understood that in order to curse the Jewish people he would need to see them. Seeing them he hoped would allow him to find something that would arouse the feelings of jealousy and anger he was looking for.
Jealousy is what results when we spend too much energy looking at what others have. Instead, we should be looking at ourselves and what we have, appreciating our blessings and aspiring for growth in all areas. Jealousy can paralyze us and force us to define ourselves by another person’s successes. We each have unique capabilities, physically and spiritually. We need to focus on what our true potential is and work towards that, instead of trying to get what someone else has.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS about their unique strengths, abilities, and opportunities.
CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
· What are some things you wish you had?
· Why do you want those things?
· What mind set do you need to be genuinely happy for another’s success?
From “Values and Ethics: Torah Topics for Today,” available from Behrman House Publishers.
Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses.