Possibly the most important factor for a happy life is to be satisfied with whatever it is that Our Creator has decided one should possess. In the words of our Sages: “Eizehu ashir? — Who is the one who is wealthy? Hasamei’ach b’chelko — the one who is happy with his share.”
Many would say “that’s easier said than done.” Social interaction exposes a person to a variety of stimuli that prompt envy and, in turn, dissatisfaction with one’s lot. A person sees others who possess that which they lack, whether material possessions, physical or mental attributes or spiritual achievements. Sometimes the disparity is so great that a person can overlook the differences because they are beyond realistic hope. However, when a peer has what one wants but lacks, jealousy and unhappiness ensue. How can one fulfill being “satisfied with his portion”?
The solution isn’t easy but it’s achievable. The trait that can forestall all envy is called “ayin tovah” — a good eye.
At its lowest level, a good eye sees things in a positive light. Whatever the dark clouds of life deliver, a good eye can see a silver lining and the bright rays of sun behind the darkness.
A higher level of “good eye” is to be happy when another acquires something desirable — as if one oneself has gained that “toy.” This can only be done after studying the concept of bitachon. One who truly believes that Hashem gives everyone exactly what they need to serve Him, will be able to accept that another was given what HE needed and what oneself doesn’t. Then one can be happy for the other — for chelko — HIS portion.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
Man’s external self has the ability to express perfectly the workings of his inner being. His happiness is expressed by a smile, his sadness with tears, his love and awe for G-d by performance of His commandments. This meshing of body and spirit is one of the inexplicable miracles of Creation. When we praise G-d as “He Who does wonders,” it is in appreciation of His binding the physical with the spiritual and causing them to operate in unison. (Rabbi Aharon Feldman, The Juggler and the King, p. 131)
Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He lectures to audiences all over the world. He has distributed over 500,000 recorded lessons free of charge. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement, Sephardic Press, 2008.