Who is Happy? One who is Satisfied with what they Have

In order to try to make peace with his brother Esav, Yaakov offered Esav an impressive gift. The tribute included 200 she goats, 20 he goats, 200 ewes, 20 rams, 30 nursing camels with their colts, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 she donkeys and 10 he donkeys.

In Breishhet 33:9, Esav says “yesh li rav…”, “I have plenty, let what you have remain yours.”

In the next two psukim, Yaakov begs Esav to accept the gift. In 33:11, Yaakov says: “Please accept my gift which was brought to you, inasmuch as God has been gracious to me and inasmuch as ‘yesh li kol’, I have everything.”

Kli Yakar and the Chafetz Chayim explain the difference between what Esav said and what Yaakov said. Esav said “yesh li rav (plenty)” while Yaakov said “yesh li kol (everything)”. Esav says that he has plenty however he still wants more and more. The more that someone has, the more they want. Yaakov says that he has everything- he is content with what he has.

Ktav Sofer explains that wealth which comes out of luck will never be enough, since it is in a person’s nature to want more and more. However, wealth that comes from God comes in the right amount for a person to live a good life and he won’t always be aching to beg for more. Yaakov is happy that God blessed him and he has no need for more.

As the holiday shopping season takes off, advertisers are working to convince us that we all need more material goods. What we really need is to take a moment to appreciate our family and friends that “God has graciously given us”.