There are some, say the Talmud, who acquire their world in an hour and others who lose it in an hour. No example of the latter is more arresting and bewildering than the famous episode in this week’s parsha. The people have asked for water. God tells Moses...Read More
How do I Avoid Getting Angry?
וְכֵן אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ ז”ל (נדרים כב ע”א): כָּל הַכּוֹעֵס – כָּל מִינֵי גֵיהִנּוֹם שׁוֹלְטִים בּוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (קהלת יא י): וְהָסֵר כַּעַס מִלִּבֶּךָ, וְהַעֲבֵר רָעָה מִבְּשָׂרֶךָ. וְאֵין “רָעָה” אֶלָּא גֵיהִנּוֹם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי טז ד): וְגַם רָשָׁע לְיוֹם רָעָה
And accordingly said our Rabbis, may their memories be a blessing: (Nedarim 22a) “Anyone who gets angry – all of Gehinnom holds sway over him, as it says: (Kohelet 11:10) “And remove the anger from your heart, and take away the bad from your flesh”, and ‘bad’ can only mean Gehinnom, as it says (Proverbs 16:4): “And the sinner, he too, will have his day of bad.”
- The burning emotions of anger, depression and frustration are their own emotional hell.
- When someone succumbs to uncontrollable rage, it’s like his soul leaves his body and he commits spiritual suicide.
The bad from your flesh
- King Solomon says anger is contagious and one should avoid angry people who are filled with fury and wrath, lest they infect you with their temperament. (Proverbs 22:24-25)
- The Talmud says that three things are a barometer to gauge another’s character, and that if you observe a person’s conduct under pressure it will tell you his true nature. (Eruvin 65b)
- כעסו- his anger (how he handles his temper)
- כיסו- his pocket (how he handles his money)
- כוסו- his cup (how he handles alcohol.
And the sinner
- Losing control of one’s temper can lead to losing self restraint in other areas of life and leaving a person powerless to avoid sin.
- The Talmud says Anger is like idolatry. Someone who loses his temper is like he loses himself to a foreign God and he can no longer see good and evil clearly. Shabbos 105b
The Angry man cannot be a humble man, and his anger leads him to show arrogance; he thinks he is in control of the events in in his life and he resents God for not taking his personal desires into account.
(adapted from A Letter For the Ages, pages 33-27)