Facebook Envy

Keeping up with the Joneses in today’s oversharing world.

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Comments (15)

(14) Chaya, February 8, 2014 7:21 AM

YES! So true!

Lori- yes this is so true! They did studies and found that people feel extremely depressed from going onto facebook. As a single woman, it is tortue to log onto facebook and see the pictures of other women getting married and having kids, and would make me feel envious of their lives and worse about my situation.. so much so, that I got off of facebook altogether. I feel so much better now. Facebook in my opinion is just a way to brag about oneself in a very public forum. I personally think it does way more harm than good!

(13) Windy, July 28, 2013 2:13 AM

Excuse me? If someone is used to a simple life - don't move them to a wealthier neighbourhood and vice versa.That is a very snobby comment.Everyone should see how other people live.I think it teaches wealthier people to be grateful and not to take things for granted and it teaches less wealthier people that there is a way out of poverty.Sometimes wanting what someone else has is a good thing.It can be motivation to work harder to acquire what it is you want.

I'm sorry but learning not to be envious is taught from home.I do not want to brag, but I do not posess a jealous bone.I'm always happy for people who acquire or achieve things that mean something to them.I've never been envious of looks or smarts.

The only time I was "jealous" was when my older sister reached out and formed a sisterly bond with a neighbourhood girl my age.The reason is I adored my older sister but she always told me to get lost basically.I guess my jealousy was more of a heartache - but I was envious of their relationship.That was what my sister was hoping I'd be.lol

(12) Rachel, July 26, 2013 1:40 AM

"Would you jump into her grave as fast"

That's what my mother, of blessed memory, used to ask us when, as children, we talked about wanting something that belonged to someone else. So in that regard, I like this message.

However, I disagree about not taking one's wife to a different sort of environment. Change always requires some adjustment, but that doesn't necessarily mean that one shouldn't move on -- especially to something better -- simply because it may be out of one's comfort zone. A mature person learns to hold onto his fundamental values while changing circumstances may bring about a change in lifestyle.
I frankly don't understand the point of Facebook. I accomplish the same sharing via email -- and it's likely to be much more tailored to specific friends and family than posting it on Facebook for all one's so-called "friends" to see. I'll share family pix with close friends and family. I'll share developments in the law with colleagues. I'll share interesting ideas from Torah with like-minded friends and acquaintances. I have a great social life, but it doesn't run into the hundreds -- and it's my theory that if you have 500 friends, you should ask yourself whether you really have any friends at all!

(11) Anonymous, July 25, 2013 9:26 PM

you are right on about facebook

I have no facebook because there is too much information that gets out there about your personal life. it has always been my opinion that facebook is dangerous

(10) ross, July 25, 2013 5:57 PM


There's a very large chunk of the population who can fill in this sentence: "I have deleted/ want to delete my facebook account because..." Lets see: ...it's addicting, ...I waste so much time, ...people/family demand me to use it for whatever, ...I feel uncomfortable seeing whatever, etc.etc.

I've NEVER touched facebook. I'm not 92, I'm 45. My cell phone is used for emergencies and doesn't even have a camera. (I've gotten kind, understanding looks as opposed to strange comments because of this).

My next avodah is to stop listening to the news. I dream one day about unplugging the internet forever.

('But Ross! There are so many good things about...!"

(9) Rebekah, July 25, 2013 4:33 PM

another approach to handling envy

I don't believe that the answer to envy is to only surround ourselves with people who are living lives similar to our own. That may not even always be possible, as in a normal Jewish community, there will be married couples, singles, couples with children, couples without children, people with jobs, people who are unemployed, etc. all in the same place. I think our job is remind ourselves when we feel the emotion of envy rising (even for something that we should want-such as children, marriage or parnasah), that these things are allocated by Hashem who knows every person and what they need at that moment. If it's something that we need to fulfill our purpose, we will get it. In the meantime, we can daven for those things that we feel we do need and do not have yet. It is not easy, but it will ultimately make us better people if we practice it often enough.

Shoshana- Jerusalem, July 28, 2013 3:13 PM

excellent comment

A person has to know that everything we have is tailor made for us by H-shem and it's the best possible situation we could be in. Just as the next guy's prescription is not made for my eyes, neither are any of his life's circumstances made for me. If his kid got into Harvard and mine didn't, it's because Harvard is what his kid needs to fulfill his purpose in life, but for my son, it wouldn't be good. Just as a carpenter doesn't feel bad that he doesn't have a stethoscope in his tool box, no one has to be jealous of whatever tools his friend was given to accomplish his purpose in this world because each of us has different purpose. But Lori's point about not bragging should be carefully followed, because it is not a nice Jewish trait, and we should all work on ourselves to avoid bragging. Modesty is the best policy.

(8) Liz, July 25, 2013 3:14 PM


I seldom use fb. The friends I have (I think the number is 39) are of friends I actually know and family.

It is an important point brought up about envy. Even in RL (real life), one has to be vigilant.

I do keep in mind, that most want to share on fb milestones, simchas, pics of their kids rather than discuss things not going so well. So I consider fb only part of the story. Since I know these people, I know their tzuris too (and have had opportunity to help), I consider what they post much like family pictures displayed in the home or snaps from their last holiday.

(7) Anonymous, July 25, 2013 12:17 PM

I agree

I permanently deleted my Facebook account for this very reason. After posting pictures of my family, I began to think about those who don't have children, a spouse or who no longer have their parents. I would look at pictures of gatherings and wish that I had been invited. Most disturbing were to read the rants of people whom I previously thought well of. I also began to see Facebook as a forum for boasting with photos and updates. Mind you, I was never and am not now a jealous person. However when I began to feel bad to see that I wasn't included at a gathering, I decided that Facebook was not good for my spirit so I closed my account and have absolutely no regrets.

(6) SusanE, July 22, 2013 6:19 PM

Don't Need FaceBook to be Jealous

FaceBook Envy? This is something I've never heard of. Are there that many narrow minded and petty people? - - - - - - It's not facebook that causes a petty person to feel entitled to have everything another person has. And what they're feeling is not depression... its a huge ego combined with entitlement and jealously. The petty person says... "Well they might have a lot of nice things and wonderful children... but I'll bet they're not really happy. This is why reality shows and celebrity worship is so ingrained. Damaged people will accept a movie star who has 'everything' as long as the star has a divorce or a drug problem or their kids are out of control.

(5) Anonymous, July 22, 2013 11:10 AM

Commenter #1: Thank you for your eloquence. Also, let me once again thank Lori Palatnik and Aish for providing the close captioning. Re: Envy. I recently met a woman who seemed to have many things that I want. However, I don't know what her life is REALLY like behind closed doors. When people talk about their good fortune on facebook, they are leaving out many things they do not want you to know. With that said, I agree that we need to be sensitive to people who may be going through hard times. Facebook is a wonderful tool when it is used wisely. Last summer I used it every day to check up on the status of a friend who was seriously ill. Thanks to the daily posts of this friend's sister, I was able to daven for my friend every Shabbos. On the flip side, I think people like to use FB as nothing more than a bragging vehicle. I can't tell these people not to brag about their achievements/possessions, but I can ignore them and do something else with my time.

(4) suzy, July 22, 2013 4:24 AM

I agree, when we see what others have, we want it too. We should appreciate our own things, instead of looking at others. I also agree that people should be considerate and Not post too much about the great things they have or did. Facebook can be used for good, we should keep it that way. My mom said that when she was growing up, no body in her neighborhood had much and they Didn't Feel Any Lack since none of them had much. But nowadays, people see others with their gadgets and want it.

(3) Mimi, July 21, 2013 9:49 PM


I'm glad that Lori presented a very timely message in this culture of greed.

(2) Sara, July 21, 2013 7:46 PM

Thank you for this. It has been on ny mind for a while and I think that as you said Facebook can be an amazing tool or an environment that can breed envy. Good and bad...just like everything else in our world!

(1) Eli, July 21, 2013 4:51 PM

Some of the details are arguably misrepresented

While it makes sense to say that it is a Torah concept that one should try not to brag or make others jealous, it is not necessarily true that if you cause others to "covet" that you easily cause them to violate the Ten Commandments. Maimonides and other rishonim say that one does not violate this commandment unless the item coveted is actually taken. Also, to apply Maimonides principle of "taking your wife" to a different kind of neighborhood to our day and age is not that simple. It is quite insulting to women (as it implies that they, not men, have this problem); it also implies that Facebook is the issue, when child psychologists in the Jewish world have been lamenting the serious negative effects of children being brought up in poverty stricken neighborhoods in the name of religion long before Facebook was around. We can't hide under a rock and pretend that the wealthy lifestyle of others can be simply avoided by turning off our computers. Life and Torah is much more complicated and sophisticated than this.


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