Pirkei Avot 2:16 - The three things that lead to emotional isolation

This post is dedicated in memory of Etya Sarah bat Yitzchak ha-Levi. May it be an aliyah for her neshama.
By Elisheva Maline

Rabbi Yehoshua said, "An evil eye, the evil inclination and hatred toward one's fellow creations remove a man from this world." 

In Pirkei Avot 2:14, Rabbi Yehoshua mentioned that a person with an evil eye might display behaviors like jealousy, an exacting disposition and resentment toward other peoples' fortunes (among other characteristics). He continues with his previous thought by pointing out that one who is pestered by the evil eye will be further frustrated after empowering and listening to his evil inclination.  As a result, he will find himself nursing a distorted view that 'It's me against everyone else.' With time he may go so far as to cut himself off completely. In short, emotional isolation is the result of an unbridled acquaintance with the above three traits, 'An evil eye, the evil inclination and hatred toward one's fellow creations.' 

What does 'removal from this world' look like? 

One action breeds another. When one chooses to look upon his fellow man with an envious, sardonic visage, the next logical steps are disgruntlement, distrust, thinly veiled loathing, and give or take several years, outright hatred. For some, the personal take on events and/or relationships can get so overwhelming that they'd prefer their own company over anyone else's. For instance, take the character of Heathcliff, the anti hero of Wuthering Heights. Mr. Earnshaw, the master of Wuthering Heights returns home with a waif [Heathcliff] whom he has discovered by the docks in Liverpool. Things don't move uphill for Heathcliff, though; no one refutes that the lad does not have an easy childhood by the Earnshaw's. After years of suffering at the hands of Hindley Earnshaw, Mr. Earnshaw's son, no one can really even deny Heathcliff his defensive snarling (according to me, anyway).

However, at some stage people have got to have a turnaround. Otherwise, they run the risk of destroying themselves. According to the story, Heathcliff's attitude was always a teeny bit pessimistic.
Vagrant waif, suspect birth story, perhaps has abandonment issues. a nature which is just a tad bitter and who can blame him? Yet the fact that he steadily deteriorates, to the point where he leaves the Heights without communicating his decision to Catherine Earnshaw, his supposed soulmate, is his fault. That he returns rich, still angry and curls into himself while also setting out to make everyone at the Heights as miserable as he, is also his decision and therefore, Heathcliff's problem. "An evil eye, the evil inclination and hatred toward one's fellow creations remove a man from this world." Thus, we see how the author of Wuthering Heights brings us a character who creates a personal hell out of which he refuses to climb. He dies in it.

How do we avoid such horrible ends? Ditch the attitude, "I deserve it." I mean, sure you deserve it [whatever it is] but if you're not getting "it," for whatever reason, don't fall into a funk. At the end of a lifetime, we are judged not by the portion we were allotted but by how we reacted to what we are given. Remember, G-d's in charge; He knows what He's doing.

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