The society in which we live in nowadays is full of “capitalism” of having and owning, often with one purpose in mind, to be happy, but if we look around it is obvious to all that true happiness is not so commonly found. Never before have there been so many psychiatrists. Depression is becoming the norm. Let us take a look at the meeting of Jacob and Esav in this weeks Torah reading to help us focus on attaining fulfilment and happiness with what we have.
When Jacob and Esav meet, Esav describes his acquisitions as follows, “I have a lot.” In contrast when Jacob describes his acquisitions and family he says, “I have everything.” What is the difference between having everything and having a lot? The answer is obvious; "a lot" infers that I am still lacking something, as opposed to "everything" which infers
that I lack nothing!
Let us take a deeper look in to how Jacob acquired this contentment and feeling of having everything.
Rav Dessler זצ"ל explains that something in this world that was only created as a means to aid our service to G-D will never bring satisfaction if we take that thing as a means in itself, [i.e. to treat that thing as its own purpose.]
Let us take just one example very relevant to our discussion, Money! If you use money to assist you in your growth and service to G-D you will feel very satisfied and content with what you have, but if you use money as a means in itself, as something that is going to bring you happiness, you will never be happy.
This is how Jacob achieved the level of feeling that he lacked nothing and had everything! He realised that all he had was a means and an aid for his growth as opposed to a means in itself.
On the other hand we see Esav who held money as a means in itself and therefore was never content and fulfilled with his lot, constantly felt he was lacking. As the saying goes, “people search for the cities of happiness but it is found in the state of the mind.”
Let us learn from Jacob in having the right state of mind to the possessions we own to help us achieve true contentment fulfilment and happiness.