- Torah and Jewish Thought
- Torah Teachings
Lo Tachmod- Details of the prohibition on jealousy
Why does the Dibra of Lo Tachmod include specific items that a person may not covet, and end with "and anything that belongs to your friend". Since the Torah doesn’t use extra words, couldn’t the commandment have simply been "Lo Tachmod Kol asher Le’reecha" (Don’t covet anything that belongs to your friend)? And if the Torah lists items to show that Lo Tachmod applies only to physical possessions (and not intellect, abilities, etc.), still the Torah didn’t need to list 6 items. For example why servant AND maid? Why ox AND donkey? Second, why does it mention the words Lo Tachmod again after saying not to covet his house? Wouldn’t one "Lo Tachmod" have been sufficient for the whole list, like it seems to be for the last 5 items in the list? Thank you.
Very often the Torah likes to go into practical examples and details, even when the general rule is also stated, and even at the expense of brevity. For example, for men, the case of being jealous of someone else’s wife, servant, ox or donkey (yesterdays tractors, cars and trucks) was and still is a very common problem (but less so for women), whereas for women, often jealousy of one’s neighbor’s home or maid is/was a more common problem. The Living Torah likes to be as clearly relevant and practical as possible for everyone, especially regarding a commandment which only “registers” for the reader if you “hit” him with common every day examples.