- The challenge: Tenth Commandment says not to covet. This means not even to desire something that belongs to another person in your heart. (Specification: It doesn’t mean don’t desire something like that. This prohibition is that you want that thing – the other’s spouse, their house, the one-off dress, the painting. We’re not talking about seeing a sweater, liking it and going off to buy it at Gap. Though if one couldn’t afford it, even if there were thousands of copies, that would be in the category of coveting.)
- Solution: Meditate on the cosmic picture.
- G-d is in control of the world and that He has apportioned it in the best way possible. Although we think we know best, this last commandment forces us to internalize that we don’t see the big picture and that we don’t necessarily know what is best. It trains us to develop a reliance on G-d alone, weaning us from the inner aspects of idolatry and cultivating our Faith.
- This line of thinking enables us to become confident in our Creator. I come to know and internalize that G-d provides for my needs, doing what is good in G-d’s (own) eyes.
- I can elaborate further if you need.
Coveting is Equivalent to Idolatry: The Domino Effect of Jealousy
- This principle is very connected to the first of “Coveting is a litmus test of faith in G-d.”
- Given that we would expect the Commandments to be addressing the most fundamental and important aspects of life, why is the commandment to not covet included at all? (It’s number 10 on the list) It seems logical that the precious “spot” be taken by a much more “significant” instruction.
- “Do not covet” is an essential tenet of belief. In fact the Zohar (primary mystical text) says that the last commandment is equivalent to them all, even to “I am the L-rd your Gd”. At first glance this is strange; but take a look at how the last, seeming least significant commandment actually involves a violation of each of the other nine.
- Below is a list of how violating the last ultimately leads to violating all ten:
a) Coveting begins in the heart as a desire and then leads to one’s taking an action in order to obtain the desired object (such as offering to buy it).
b) If this does not work, he might resort to giving false testimony in order to obtain it.
c) A next resort would be theft.
d) And the most severe form of coveting is in relation to another person’s spouse. Adultery, as we have said, is also the most serious form of theft.
e) We have established that theft is a form of murder. An in the worst case, an adulterous relationship could lead to actual murder.
f) In desecrating life, one desecrates those who gave life – one’s parents and so too G-d Who is the source of all Life.
g) Both coveting and theft, through desiring to change the natural order of creation, involve a violation of the Creator, our source of existence.
h) Having sinned, the person might come to swear falsely in self-defense.
i) The crime reveals something about the consciousness of the sinner. He denies G-d’s Diving Providence and as such violates the inner aspect of the prohibition against idolatry
j) And ultimately, the one who covets reveals that he does not believe in G-d.
- This is why the Talmud states, “Every one who steals sheds blood. Not only sheds blood, but it is as if he serves idols, engages in incest or adultery, and profanes the Sabbath.” (Mishna Semachot 11)
- Although many spiritual paths decry wealth, Kabbalah views your possessions as being part of your purpose.
- As the Talmud in Sotah 2a states: Forty days before the formation of an embryo, a Heavenly voice issues forth and proclaims, “The daughter of so-and-so is destined for so-and-so, this house for this person or that one, and this field for so-and-so.”
- In other words, you have a relationship soulmate. And you have that same dynamic with your “stuff.”
- You are given what you have in order to reveal the inner Divine light in that thing. When money is used for charitable purposes, a home to provide a space where people can rest from the pressures of the world and have their true self emerge, food for the hungry or to share with friends in celebration of life itself, the web as a space to explore and learn, and so on, then we are revealing that Divine light.
- Each of us has a specific mission with our money and possessions. They are the corner of the world that G-d has left for us to refine and transform into holiness.
You are given what you have. And you are given what you don’t have
- We tend to think of what we have as a gift from Above
- And of what we don’t have as something we were denied
- The truth is, what has been withheld from us is also a Divine gift
- This doesn’t mean we must resign ourselves to poverty for example. We can envision and work towards a different financial status.
- It does mean acknowledging that there is a Growth Opportunity in the perceived “lack.” (in The Method we call this a GO Point.)
- The first GO Point is accepting that in this very moment of financial challenge, I have something to learn. (Generally that has to do with surrender.)
- The second GO Point occurs in working towards the change. If you had all the money or wealth you needed (money and wealth are not synonymous, see the next point below,) you might not manifest your abilities.
- By embracing the shadow space, you emerge in a light greater than you can currently imagine.
Think about “all” of what your neighbor has – Look at the package deal
- The Tenth Commandment begins with a list of specifics. Here’s the exact wording: You shall not covet your neighbor’s home. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything at all belonging to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:14) (NOTE: I realize the spec of “wife” is potentially alienating to readers. We can state that the commandment is specific about the details of what not to covet without stating what those are.)
- This verse contains a deep lesson in helping ourselves not covet.
- If the communication is about the specifics (your neighbors new home, wife, wealth – jewels, investments (male/female servants symbolized wealth), wheels/company/staff/tractor (the contemporary equivalent of ox and donkey) etc) – then keep it to the specs.
- If it’s regarding “anything at all belonging to your neighbor, then leave out the specs.
- But here’s the lesson: You may want that one thing that belongs to your friend. When you long for it, remind yourself that it’s a package deal. That diamond comes with that husband, the wealth comes with those work hours, the country life comes with an element of boredom, the city life comes with an edge entirely its own.
- In other words, we can read the end of the commandment not only as an instruction but a guideline: If you want to avoid being eaten by desire for what others have, step back and look at the big picture.
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