עַד בְּכוֹר הַשְּׁבִי אֲשֶׁר בְּבֵית הַבּוֹר (שמות יב:כט)
…וְעַל דַּהֲווֹ חָדָן בְּשִׁעְבּוּדְהוֹן דְּיִשְרָאֵל לָקוּ אוּף (תרגום יונתן שמות יב:כט)
…And on that which they were happy with the enslavement of the Jews they were smitten—even they…
What is so terrible about being “happy” with the enslavement of the Jews? The Torah does not even say that the maidservants helped the Egyptians to enslave the Jews. However, just being happy seems to be enough for them to be punished.
We find many times in the Torah that there are ways that people can become part of something going on. Sometimes by their silence they imply that they are happy with what is going on and are regarded as being associated with it. We are also familiar with the idea that if a person has the ability to correct someone and instead remains silent and uninvolved, he is considered as if he did the sin himself. This is because we have a civic duty known as “arvus.” One does not have the right to say “I will just worry about myself and mind my own business” because everyone’s business is “my” business. I think that this idea is well understood.
Rabbeinu Bachya says (כד הקמח, ערך שמחה) that sometimes we may find somebody doing something very good, and we are happy for them. That happiness has a spiritual value: If we are happy for the mitzvah that they did, it is as if we did it too. Conversely if a person does something bad, and we are happy with that which he did, it is as if we did the aveira ourselves.
Being that this is so, the maidservant was punished as if she actually subjugated the Jews. In the vernacular, we say “if I would have had a chance, I would have done it too!” The Torah considers it as if you actually did it.
Many times we see somebody doing a mitzvah or a chesed that is beyond our personal scope. At times there is a human reaction to negate that chesed and say that the person is “overdoing it” in order to vindicate oneself from not doing such great acts of chesed. If one takes this approach, at best, he will not be punished. But if he looks at the person with admiration and says, “That chesed that Reuven just did is so wonderful. I am happy that Reuven can do it and Shimon was able to receive the chesed. I only wish I had the ability to do chesed like that!”, he will have reward as if he himself did it.
Based on this Rabbeinu Bachaya, it seems to me that it is not too difficult to be an “over achiever.”
This idea is based on an idea in the כד הקמח. See the word שמחה.