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Bereishit: Overcoming Sibling Rivalry

At the dawn of history there is one event that captures a recurring narrative. It is the story of sibling rivalry and it ends in tragedy. Cain and Abel both bring an offering of thanks to G-d to show their appreciation for his blessings. Only, Abel offers the best of his flock whilst Cain gives the leftovers of his produce. G-d responds by taking notice of Abel’s gift but not Cain’s. Cain’s immediate response is not surprising. He becomes angry and saddened by his predicament. He feels humiliated by G-ds preferential treatment towards his brother. G-d responds immediately.  He says “Why are you annoyed, and why is your face dejected? Surely, if you do right, there is uplift”. Cain cannot hear this message. He is too enraged, he can’t reflect. As we all know, the story ends with murder of Abel by his brother Cain. Herein lies the story of mankind. It is the narrative of how to overcome human nature’s most destructive impulses. In life some are going to be more gifted in certain areas then others. There will be times when some will be more successful or have greater opportunities. In situations like these we have choices. We can either become angry and envious. We can fill our hearts with toxic energy which negatively impacts our emotional and physical health. Or, we can be inspired by someone else’s success to improve our own game. To acknowledge and fully appreciate our own weaknesses. To challenge ourselves to work harder on our own character traits and behaviour. As we head off into the new year, energised with the inspiration derived from all the festive experiences, we should rid ourselves of all toxic energy. We should clear our system of all forms of anger and resentment. This will lighten our load and enable us to live life to the fullest.

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