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  • Aliza Davidovit

The Consequences of Jealousy and 5 Steps to Deal with it!

" Jealousy, lust and the [pursuit of] honor remove a person from the world.” (Pirkei Avot 4:21)


I would imagine that the best way to know if you are getting an evil eye is to walk around with a big mirror and flash it before everyone you meet. If people start dropping dead like flies around you, there’s a good chance they’d wished you bad. Ah, but if only it were so easy to ward of all those ill-intentioned people who seem to be subverting our good luck. And so, instead, we walk around with red strings, hamsas, little plastic eyeballs and all sorts of idolatrous amulets meant to keep the demons from our door.


But are soft little eyeballs really something to fear? Well, the Talmud teaches that a person can cause damage just by looking at another's property. It also says that 99 out of 100 people die prematurely from the evil eye. Basically, it means the graveyards are filled with those who were victims of envy. But what did the ancient rabbis know? Right? Weren’t they just as susceptible as everyone else to myth and wives’ tales? But then quantum physics came along and taught us that observation affects reality. The mere act of looking at and sizing up a particle changes it. That certainly offers us something to think about.


Today it’s easier than ever to be jealous and to give evil eyes. All we have to do is spend an hour on Facebook to eat our hearts out reading people’s status updates. But those who cast evil eyes are not immune from backlash themselves; for the sages also teach that the act of giving an evil eye also takes a person out of this world early. The dispenser of poison is not immune to the poison it dishes out. No person is impervious to a daily diet of dioxin. And forgive me for having the temerity to offer up my opinion in the shadow of the great Talmudic rabbis, but I say giving an evil eye also makes one so darn ugly. Jealousy hangs on one’s face like a dreadful accessory that just does not match any decent outfit.


Jealousy/coveting never ends well. In fact, the Talmud teaches that anyone who places his eyes on that which is not his is not given what he desires and loses what he has, as we can see in this week’s Torah reading. Korach, after whom the parashah is titled, was Moses’ cousin as well as being extremely rich. He had 300 mules just to carry the keys to his treasures. But why should that be enough? He still envied Moses and Aharon and struck up a rebellion. The earth-shattering results from such mutiny were unprecedented: the earth itself opened and swallowed him up along with those who supported him.


It was not the first case of jealousy gone wrong nor the last: The rabbis teach that upon creation, the moon was envious of the sun and questioned why the sky needed two gr