Being Happy with What You Have

          I have often stated that the 10th commandment is the hardest commandment-that is until I reflected on how difficult it is to avoid lashon hara (bad speech). Still, it feels like human nature to long for what you lack and to covet what others’ have. Noom taught me that 99.9% of humanity negatively filter-that means that they choose to see the negative, or what is lacking, rather than what they have.

          The Ethics of the Fathers teaches us איזהו עשיר: השמח בחלקו “Who is rich? One who is happy with what s/he has.”[1] People who truly rejoice in their lot don’t care if they have the latest iPhone, a Maserati car or a trip to Hawaii: they appreciate all the blessings and privileges that they have in life. They recognize that things could always be worse and are able to count their blessings.

          It is my hope as we read the 10 Commandments and Parshat Yitro that we rejoice in our lot, developing a Dayenu mentality. In other words, if God had only done some things for us but not others, it would have been enough. Now that God has done so much for us, all the more so should we be happy with what we have. If on the other hand, we feel our lives would be better with another thing, another spouse, or another job, we wind up in an insatiable pit where it will never be enough; as soon as we achieve that desire, we will long for something else. Instead, it is my hope and prayer that we find ways to rejoice with the bounty of all that we have.

[1] Pirkei Avot 5:1

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