Torah Portion: Yisro
Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not be envious of your neighbor’s wife, his slave, his maid, his ox, his donkey, or anything else that is your neighbor’s (Shemos 20:14).
It is forbidden by negative commandment to entertain the thought of carrying out any scheme to take for ourselves what belongs to someone else of our brethren, as it says, Do not covet your neighbor’s house, etc. (Shemos 20:14).
This prohibition is not fully transgressed until some action is taken about it, i.e., until he actually takes the object which he desired from his fellow. Even if he paid the value of the object to its owner, he transgresses this prohibition of “do not covet,” if he did so against his fellow’s wishes and forced the person to sell it to him.
Among the roots of this commandment is the idea that this way of thinking is evil and it causes a man many misfortunes. For once he firmly decides in his mind to take the object that he craves from the person, he will stop at nothing; and should his fellow-man not wish to sell it to him willingly, he might even force it out him; and if the other person resists him, he may even kill him — as in the case of Ach’av who murdered Navos because he had coveted Navos’ vineyard(see Melachim I, ch. 21).
This commandment applies in all places, in all times, and to both men and women. One who transgresses this and coveted an object, has transgressed a negative commandment.