Purim – Brotherly Jealousy

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In the story of Yosef and his brothers, the jealousy amongst the brothers got out of control on some level. But at the very end of the Megillas Esther we find a whole different perspective on brotherly jealousy. The last pasuk of the megilla writes, “For Mordechai the Jew was viceroy to King Achashverosh; he was a great man among the Jews and found favor with most of his brethren; he sought the good of his people and spoke for the welfare of all his seed” (Esther 10:3).

The Ibn Ezra explains the last part of the pasuk. “And found favor with most of his brethren, for it is not possible for a person to make everyone happy since there is brotherly jealousy. He sought the good for his people, it would have been enough for him to do good to those that asked him for a favor, but he sought out people to do good to them. His seed, refers to his children and grandchildren. Normally children fear their fathers and behold he first spoke peacefully even to his children who are like his servants and even to the rest of his nation. The pasuk mentioned his great attributes and humility just as it mentions about Moshe our master, ‘And the man Moshe was the humblest person of all mankind.'” (Click here for Hebrew text.)
Mordechai just saved the Jewish people from complete annihilation at the hands of Haman. He was the one who convinced Esther to confront Achashveirosh. He was the one who got Bigsan and Seresh killed for the attempted assassination of the king, which led to Mordechai’s reward and Haman’s ultimate downfall. He also was a part of the Sanhedrin, the high Jewish court, and a tremendous sage who knew 70 languages and helped many Jews resolve their issues. Besides the Jews being totally indebted to Mordechai for saving their lives, once he became viceroy to Achashveirosh he became even more active in the Jewish community. Normally a good politician will be open to helping anyone who asks for help if they can, but he went out of his way to search for Jews who needed his help. He was also gentle and soft spoken to everyone including his family members, searching out peace, and not intimidating anyone.

Such humility, on par with Moshe Rabbeinu; how then even for Mordechai the Righteous, was it possible for anyone not to like him but only find favor in their eyes? It would seem according to the Ibn Ezra that this concept of “brotherly jealousy ” on some level makes it impossible to have everyone like you, no matter how nice of a person you are. It’s a natural tendency in the world, not necessarily outright jealousy, but a familial, lower-grade jealousy that always exists and is impossible to avoid. Therefore it’s impossible to expect for everyone to like you; that’s just the way of the world.