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It’s easy to fall into a pattern of despising and denigrating the Left: its destructiveness, its deceptiveness, and its ugliness. Over time I’ve discovered that holding on to that assessment about them has negative consequences for me; it erodes my confidence about the potential to make headway against them, and it creates a darkness that tries to permeate so much of my everyday life. I found myself periodically asking myself, how can people live their lives in this way?
But the other day I came across a quotation from Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks that applies to the Left and shook me to my core. He reflected on the harm that is caused by envy that goes beyond the Biblical laws of refraining from it:
Envy is the failure to understand the principle of creation as set out in Genesis I, that everything has its place in the scheme of things. Each of us has our own task and our own blessings, and we are each loved and cherished by G-d. Live by these truths and there is order. Abandon them and there is chaos. Nothing is more pointless and destructive than to let someone else’s happiness diminish your own, which is what envy is and does. The antidote to envy is, as Ben Zoma famously said, “to rejoice in what we have” (Mishnah Avot 4:1) and not to worry about what we don’t yet have. Consumer societies are built on the creation and intensification of envy, which is why they lead to people having more and enjoying it less.