Bo: Schaudenfreud

In parshat Bo, we are told that even the first born captives of the Egyptians dies in the plague of the first born.  Rashi questions, why did Gd have to include “captives” or wretched non Egyptians in the plague.  Rashi famously answers that they were happy with the struggling and suffering of the Jews.  He even goes on to mention, that the captives are even lower than the maidservants, yet they rejoiced.  Now that’s Schaudenfreud- taking happines in other peoples misery.

Time for a confession.  The Shikkerdovid sometimes suffers from this.  It is a tremendous failing.  But is it human?  The answer is yes. It is human to instinctively take some pleasure in other people’s downfall, especially when you are not a fan.  The work is to recognize the failing and redouble your effort to love and find compassion for that person and to find the good and value in them.

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