Yitzchak Our Father A’H also encountered a regional famine and as per G-D instruction went to Gerar to live with the Philistines (Bereshith 26:1-6) . Yitzchak was very successful bringing a crop blessed a hundredfold. (26:12).
Yitzchak’s success according to Rabbi Ya’akov Ben Asher ZT’L ZY’A left him wealthier than even the local Monarch, Avimelech, Yet as Rabbi Shimshon Rephael Hirsch ZT’L ZY’A understands that Yitzchak did not hoard his bounty but brought the extra to market for sale to generally supply the populace. The abundance Yitzchak experienced was so great there was no need for Yitzchak to profit from others’ misery by inflating prices. The fabulous wealth Yitzchak obtained was only through G-D’s blessing and not by through exploiting circumstances.
Even so, 26:14 relates that the Philistine reaction to Yitzchak’s success was jealousy. Nachmonidies ZT’L ZY’A opines the popular animosity against Yitzchak had nothing to do with his actual wealth but from the observable extensive size of his holdings, flocks, herds and servants. So despite sharing his good fortune and not taking advantage of others the enormity of his enterprise inspired the Philistines to jealousy.
Yet, Nachmonidies’ interpretation is puzzling. Why would one become jealous of one’s benefactor? Why would one be jealous of Yitzchak? Yitzchak used his holdings for the public good. While asserting one who is a have not will be inherently be jealous of the haves.
However, Rabbi Hirsch and Rabbi Berlin both note another aspect of Jealousy, Yitzchak personally. Rabbi Naftali Berlin ZT’L ZY’A in his Hamek Davar the envy against Yitzchak was not from the rabble but from Yitzchak’s peers, the other magnates in town. Evidently, a wealthy person has a natural jealousy against anyone better off than oneself. Rabbi Hirsch takes this concept a bit further, the Philistines do not covet Yizchak’s riches but were jealous over the power and prestige flowing from his wealth. However Rabbi Berlin’s closing comments are remarkable .” . . . A wealthy person is jealous of someone wealthier than he, especially if the wealthier person is a Jew.
Why would Yitzchak’s unselfish behavior receive such a harsh response? Maybe the Hamek Davar's comment applies moreso to Jews than other immigernts succeeding in their adopted country. Eventually after a generation or two the newcomer/.outsider/interloper status is all but forgotten. However, Jews remain seperate and distinct. Living in exile despite material and political achivement Jews will remain a square peg jammed in to round hole something that just does not fit. Maybe this the lesson there is a nagging truth is no matter deeply one participates in the general society, no matter how loyal, or accepted one may be as long as one is a Jew in exile one can never truly be totally secure. While Jews remain in exile it is simply foolish and wrong to ever believe one is at home.