The last of the Ten Commandments is “You shall not covet.” Simply stated, one should not desire his neighbor’s property, possessions or any other attribute he may have. On the face of things, this seems to be a very difficult mitzvah to observe. If my neighbor has something that is beautiful, if he owns a magnificent home, drives a beautiful car, or has a fantastic job, isn’t it human nature to feel jealous? How can the Torah ask me to do something that goes against my very nature? Granted the Torah can tell me not to take revenge or vent my frustration on my neighbor, but how can the Torah expect me to control that which I feel in my heart, something that is clearly out of my control?
In this Shmuz, we are introduced to a fundamental concept in personal growth: that our very emotional needs and desires are moldable. Not only can we change what we do, we can change our very attitudes and feelings. The primary system in this process is “cognitive restructuring,” reshaping the way that we think, what we value, how we feel, and ultimately what we aspire to. This is a fundamental concept for many areas of growth in life.