Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Do Not Covet Part 5

We have completed the halachic (legal) issues relating to the mitzvo of ’Do not Covet’. It is now important to discuss some of the philosophical aspects of this mitzvo.

The commentaries discuss why it is wrong to covet someone else‘s item. The early commentator, the Ibn Ezra, offers a useful analogy to help understand the Torah’s outlook on what one’s attitude should be towards material possessions. He tells us to imagine a lowly peasant man who sees a beautiful princess. If he is of sound mind, he will not contemplate marrying her, because he is well aware that she is not designated for him, because she is in a completely different social sphere. In a similar vein, everything that a person has is given to him from HaShem and anything that he does not need is not given to him. Therefore, the property of another person has no relevance to him - it is completely out of his sphere of ownership.

This idea is developed further by an illuminating saying of the Sages. They tell us that righteous people are very careful about looking after their material possessions because they know that they did not acquire anything dishonestly[1]. As we said above, everything that a person owns is given to him from HaShem. However, this is on condition that it was acquired in an honest fashion. A righteous person recognizes that since he is totally honest, whatever he has been given or acquired is necessary for him to properly serve HaShem. Accordingly, he is very careful not to damage or lose his property, because to do so, would make it very difficult to achieve his purpose. With this in mind, it is evident that acquiring other people’s property is totally unnecessary for a person to achieve his life potential. By definition, anything that his fellow owns is not needed for him. Therefore, it is fruitless for him to try to attain it from his friend.

With this attitude a person can learn to become far more satisfied with his lot.


1. Chullin, 91a.


 

Text Copyright © 2009 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org

Visit Rabbi Gefen's new blog at rabbiygefen.blogspot.com.

Rabbi Gefen's new book, The Guiding Light, is now available! To order, please contact Rabbi Gefen at Gefen123@smile.net.il or 00972 52 761 9935.


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Great Is Peace
- 5769

In a Heartbeat
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

Join the Voices in the Ark
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

ArtScroll

One for the Birds
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

Saved From a Rainy Day
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

Noach - A 'Standard' Tzaddik
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Sins Committed In Private Ultimately Lead To a Violent Society
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Who By Fire, Who By Water
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

A Sobering Lesson
- 5768

> Noah's Spiritual Leadership
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

Certain Things Noach Did Not Have To Worry About
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5775

Raising Children: The Secret of Success
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Miracle of Free Will
Rabbi Elly Broch - 5765

The Din of the Din
Rabbi Label Lam - 5775

In His Generation
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Noach's Lessons for Our Day
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information