“Dan judges his people as one of the tribes of Israel. For Your salvation I hope, Hashem” (Bereishis 49:16-17)
This week Jews rejoiced greatly when, with the help of Hashem, Reb Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin was freed from prison by the President of the United States after a long period of incarceration during which Jews everywhere joined in his sorrow and prayed abundantly and exerted material and financial efforts to free him. This clearly demonstrates the true glory of Klal Yisrael, who naturally care for one another in an extraordinary fashion because of the spiritual connections that exist between every Jewish soul.
As such, one must consider, why doesn’t every Jew rejoice when he sees his fellow Jew succeed in business and make a tremendous profit? Rather, people tend to be stingy in their approach to others in regard to their success, often falsely accusing those who are successful of being liars or thieves, etc.
The answer is: jealousy. When a Jew is in prison, or in another misfortune, nobody is jealous of him. Then we can see the natural achdus of Am Yisrael that every Jew feels for his brother, as they judge him favorably, and worry for his sake, and rejoice with him when his suffering ends. However, when that Jew is in a situation of wealth and honor, many people are jealous of him, and this attribute of jealousy causes others to judge him unfavorably, and this prevents them from celebrating his joys.
This is why Chazal say in the Mishnah in Tractate Avos (4:21) that jealousy is one of the things that removes a person from the world. Because of jealousy, the person is never happy with what he has, and this causes him to be negative constantly against the other, and causes hatred and strife, and loss of tranquility. This can also cause a person to do sins, which destroy his entire life, both materially and spiritually.
Even great people can fall into this trap and ruin their lives because of jealousy, as my holy ancestor, Rebbe Yitzchak Isaac of Komarna zy”a wrote in his “Sefer Notzer Chesed” on this abovementioned Mishnah, that in the time of our master the Baal Shem Tov zy”a there was a well-respected man in the city of Radom, Poland, who was jealous of his brothers who became rabbis, This caused him to go so far down in his life until he abandoned religion and became a total heretic. However, the Baal Shem Tov zy”a visited him one day in a miraculous fashion, using kefitzas haderech, and turned his life around so he should perform total teshuvah.
We find this idea in these Parshios of the Torah which we read in these weeks. Yosef HaTzaddik was very successful, both spiritually and materially, and the holy Shevatim were jealous of their brother, and this caused them to judge him unfavorably, claiming he was an arrogant baal gaavah and that he spoke lashon hara, etc., until the point where they judged he was guilty of a capital offense and liable to the death penalty. They threw him into a pit with snakes and scorpions, and subsequently sold him as a slave.
After they sold him and the jealousy dissipated, they felt the inherent achdus of Bnei Yisrael, and realized they had made a grave error. They later went down to Egypt, and each followed his own path, through a different gate, hoping they would find Yosef, with the intention of redeeming him with all the money needed to do so. When Yosef imprisoned Shimon until they brought Binyamin to him, they regretted their treatment of Yosef even more, as it is written: “and they said one man to his brother, ‘but we are guilty on account of our brother, as we saw the suffering of his soul, as he begged us not to sell him, and we did not listen, therefore, this sorrow has come upon us’.” (Bereishis 42:21)
Nevertheless, when Yosef revealed himself to them, and they saw how he had suddenly become the Viceroy, the Midrash relates that at first, they wanted to kill him, out of jealousy for his position. Only an angel prevented this. (Tanchuma – Vayigash 5). From this we see how far jealousy can harm, for in one moment it can cause a person to judge others unfavorably.
Yosef HaTzaddik then told them, “and now do not be sad, and do not be angry at yourselves for selling me here.” Now is the time to repent and uproot the attribute of jealousy. You should no longer continue to look at me with jealousy or anger, “for G-d sent me before you to sustain life.” Everything is from G-d. Through this, Yosef blessed the Jewish people with the influence to weaken the power of jealousy at the very beginning of the Egyptian Exile, and to strengthen the power of faith. Through this they would eventually be redeemed from Egypt.
The best advice against jealousy is to be strong in faith in G-d, recognizing that everything is preordained from Heaven, and nobody can touch something that rightfully belongs to someone else. Rather, everyone must accept his mission in the world. As the left hand is not jealous of the right hand, and the foot is not jealous of the head, similarly, all Jews need to realize they are like one body. As it is written before Kabbolas HaTorah “and Israel rested there” (Shmos 19:2), in the singular tense, which Chazal explain to mean “like one man, with one heart.”
My holy ancestor Rebbe Yitzhok Isaac of Kalov zy”a explained according to the path of remez, that the statement of Chazal of “והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות” – “and you should judge every human favorably” (Avos 1:6) is the same Gematria as “שמע ישראל ד’ אלקינו ד’ אחד” – “Hear o Israel, Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is One”. It is possible to say that this means, as we said above, that through faith in Hashem, we can come to judge every person favorably. Furthermore, the term “כל האדם”literally means “all of the human”, hinting that the entire Jewish People is like one single human body.
According to this, we can possibly explain the words of Yaakov Avinu a”h in his blessing to the Tribe of Dan, which excelled in this attribute: “Dan should judge his People as one of the tribes of Israel.” This means to judge all the tribes of Israel as if they are one person. The judge will regard himself as one with the entire nation and will thus be able to adjudicate with love and compassion, lacking any feeling of ill will or jealousy toward the defendant. This ability derives from the power of emunah, the faith of “I wait for Your Salvation, Hashem.” Placing complete trust in Hashem removes any jealousy which could lead to judge others unfavorably.
In particular, we must work to eradicate jealousy even more so during this week of the Fast of the 10th of Teves, which recalls the beginning of the Churban. We must rectify the sin of baseless hatred which brought about the destruction of Jerusalem, as is explained at length in Sefer Yosifon (ch. 79). In the merit of strengthening faith, love, and unity in Klal Yisrael, we will be worthy to the Geulah Shleimah soon and in our days, Amen!