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September 3, 2014 / 8 Elul, 5774
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Breakfast And Happiness (Part IV)

Rabbi Hanoch Teller

The Grass-is-Always-Greener Syndrome is a potent force against satisfaction. It is driven by jealousy that mixes worse with contentedness than gas with alcohol. Indeed, jealousy is such a powerful inhibitor to contentedness that it blinds to the point that the proverbial cup is no longer a question of half-full or half-empty. It could be 90 percent full, and the jealous one will only see empty.

The solution to the conspiracy of human nature, and the advertisers, as my daughter displayed so eloquently during breakfast that morning, is “self-control” – not the most popular term in America today. Contentedness, or almost interchangeably “happiness,” can only be achieved by battling one’s appetites.

One who is prey to her lusts and desires will suffer the unhappiness of an addict. There is no appetite that cannot be addictive, which is why the free person – the one not obsessed with “what will they think of me?” – is the happy person.

(To be continued)  

Chodesh Tov – have a pleasant month!

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2 Responses to “Breakfast And Happiness (Part IV)”

  1. This reminds me of a friend who always swore that brand-name vodka was so much better than generic vodka that he was willing to pay three or four times the price for it. I tried to explain that it all tastes like rubbing-alcohol and the cheap stuff will get you just as drunk, but he insisted that the expensive stuff tasted much better and didn't give you a headache the next day. While I admit the pricier vodkas do taste a little better, they still give you the same headaches if you drink enough and if you drink enough, the room spins at the same rate as the cheap stuff. For something to be worth three or four times more than a similar product or service, I expect it to be more than "slightly better tasting" or "slightly improved."

    In the end, by trying to get the "newest", "best", or "coolest", we end up being broke and more miserable, just like my friend, who always had the best vodka and the worst outlook on life. Or like the poor kids in the cities lining up to spend $200 on a pair of Jordan's. Happiness isn't found in a swoosh or a bottle. Not that I've cornered the market on being content or happy either.

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