The following is an excerpt from an email by Rabbi Eli Mansour about this week's parsha - a lesson for one and all.
The Torah relates that Yaakob Abinu, too, sent his sons to Egypt to purchase grain. When he proposed the idea to his sons, he asked them, "Lama Titra'u?" (42:1), which literally means, "Why do you make yourselves conspicuous?" The commentaries explain that Yaakob and his family still had food provisions at this point; they had not reached the point where they needed to purchase grain from Egypt. However, Yaakob was concerned about what the surrounding peoples would think upon seeing him and his family enjoying financial stability while they were without food. Everybody else was forced to travel to Egypt to buy food. If they saw Yaakob and his family enjoying relative stability while everybody else in Canaan had nothing and had to buy grain from Egypt, they would naturally feel envious and resentful. Yaakob, wisely, knew he had to avoid these hostile feelings. He therefore said to his sons, "Why should we make a spectacle? Why should we appear wealthy while everyone else is struggling? Why draw this kind of attention to ourselves?
...Yaakob's remark to his children conveys a critically important message specifically for our day and age, when, by and large, we enjoy prosperity and material comforts. Contemporary society teaches, "If you have it, flaunt it." Yaakob Abinu, however, teaches us to do just the opposite.
...Yaakob understood what far too few people today understand - that showing off material success, especially in periods of financial instability, invites hostility, not admiration. When a person flaunts his wealth, people around him become resentful - not his adoring admirers.
Read full article: http://www.dailyhalacha.com/WeeklyParasha.asp