ecause the entire congregation are all holy… So why do you raise yourselves above the nation of Hashem?” (Bamidbar 16:3)


From the situation with Korach we learn something amazing. Bnei Yisrael were divided into three levels: Kohanim, Leviim, and Yisraelim. Naturally, this should have aroused jealousy. Yet besides the actions of Korach, we don’t find any other incident of jealousy.

Furthermore, this one situation highlights the exemplary level of Yisrael. If not for the story of Korach, one could say there simply wasn’t the yetzer hara of jealousy. Yet here we see that jealousy was possible and still, at all other times, Bnei Yisrael did not fall into this trap. (Rav Shimshon Pincus, Tiferes Shimshon)

“Yitzi got a bigger piece of cake than me!”

“Why do I have to go to bed at eight when Avi’s up till nine?!”

Abie Rotenberg must’ve been lurking around my house when he wrote his jealousy song. But he neglected to leave us his Middos Machine, so I’m stuck with the wails of sibling rivalry. Contrary to Dr. Middos’s experience, dutifully playing the song in the background doesn’t seem to work on my kids. (Maybe he could translate it into Hebrew?)

I’m desperate for a solution to beat that green-eyed beast who makes my kids complain bitterly about their siblings’ better life.

I tried Mrs. Lukshan’s idea and used a tape measure to cut cake. I ended up arguing the differences between inches and centimeters.

And once, I threw all caution to the winds and let all the kids stay up till midnight. But nobody turned into pumpkins. They all stayed jealous.

I need some new strategies.

At Matan Torah there were many levels of closeness to Hashem. Yet Chazal tell us that Bnei Yisrael were camped “as one man with one heart.”

We learn that a person who feels fulfilled in his own personal tafkid will not be jealous even if someone’s greater than him. Jealousy stems from a feeling of lacking something. If a person’s truly content with his own unique position, he won’t feel jealous.

“Why do I have the most homework?” whined Avi one evening.

“That’s it!” I banged my hand on Binyamin’s math book. “I’ve had enough of green-eyed jealousy around here!”

“But Mommy, no one here has green eyes.” English idioms aren’t in Yitzi’s vocabulary.

“Tonight we’re putting jealousy in its place!” I had their attention. “Tonight is…. Turnaround Time! Since you all think every else has the better deal in this house, you get a chance to deal with their deal. Deal?”

Now I’d lost them, so I started to explain. “Binyamin. You get to be Yitzi. You don’t have to throw out the garbage and you don’t have to do your math homework. You get to do Yitzi’s first-grade workbook!”

“Great! He’s spoiled! I get to be spoiled!”

“Yitzi — you get to stay up late like Binyamin, but you have to do his chores.”

“What’s the big deal?” Yitzi puffed up with pride. “I’m way stronger than him!”

“And Avi, you get to be Shoshi! You’re always complaining she’s treated like an adult and you’re not. Now’s your chance!”

The green gleam was coming back into their eyes and I sat back to observe an evening of enlightenment.

This reminds me of the famous moment when man walked on the moon. Actually, there were two men there — one walked on the moon and one manned the rocket ship. I asked my brother, “How did the one left back in the spaceship feel?”

He answered, “They’re not kids playing. They understand that each one has a major purpose. There’s no room for jealousy.”

“I get to go out to the neighbor’s bar mitzvah and stay out as late as I want! That’s what you always let Shoshi do!”

“Yes, Avi, but first shower the baby, he has a dirty diaper, and throw in a load of whites before you leave.”

“Ha!” Binyamin gloated. “I don’t have to do my math homework!” But after 20 minutes of copying alefs and gimmels in Yitzi’s notebook, he was bored stiff.

“I get to stay up late!” Yitzi danced around the dining room.

“Right, Yitzi. But make sure you take out the garbage and load the dishwasher. Those are Binyamin’s jobs.”

When midnight tolled, no one turned into pumpkins, but something told me we’d sated the green-eyed monster for a while. Even without a music-playing box of cornflakes. (Originally featured in Family First, Issue 596)