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Anger – Part III

February 10, 2016
Orit Esther Riter

one comments

BS’D

 

 

I once overheard a beautiful story about anger:

A Tzaddik once sat on a river bank surrounded by his disciples. As they looked around them, they spotted a group of family members shouting at one another.  The Tzaddik turned to his students and asked, “Why do people shout at each other in anger?”

The students thought for a while. One of them answered, “Because we lose our calm.”

“But why should you shout when the other person is right next to you? You can tell him what you have to say in a soft manner” said the Tzaddik.

The students offered other answers. The Tzaddik was not satisfied. Finally, he explained, “When two people are angry at each other, their hearts are distant. To overcome that distance, they must shout to be able to hear one another. In contrast, what happens when two people are in love? They talk softly because their hearts are very close. The distance is either non-existent or small.” The Tzaddik continued, “When they love each other more, what happens? They do not even need to speak, only whisper. Finally when they grow even closer to one another they do not even need to whisper, they only need to look at each other and know what the other is saying. That is how close two people in love are.”

He looked at the students and said, “So when you argue, do not let your hearts grow apart. Do not say words that create a gap. Otherwise there may come a day when the distance is so great you will find yourself screaming to the one who is right next to you and not sense that he is near.”

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated l’iluy nishmat Aharon Hakohen ben Perel. May his neshama bask in the Divine radiance among all of righteous who have departed from this world, Amen.

Please share your comments, thoughts and questions in the comment section. Would love to hear from you.

Anger – Part II

February 9, 2016
Orit Esther Riter

one comments

BS’D

 

Anger can easily take over one’s mind and behavior. Rather than simply a trait to casually change, anger must be seen as dangerous, a trait we must try to uproot at its source. Why?

Nothing in the universe happens by chance. Every event is an extension of Hashem in the world and a reflection of His Will. Rebbe Shneur Zalman of Liadi ztk’l teaches the only reason a person loses his temper is because he fails to see Hashem in everything. Thus, essentially it is a lack of emuna that leads to anger.

Chazal compares anger to idol worship. Every person is made by Hashem in His image and has inside a tzelem Elokim mimal. Becoming angry at others reflects an act of rebellion towards Hashem by uprising against His creations. Becoming angry at events reflects a failure to see or remember that Hashem controls all events. Hashem orchestrates the events that upset us and causes us to experience a loss of control in order to test us.

When a person is angered, essentially he is serving another ‘god’ – himself and his own needs – as opposed to serving Hashem.  Anger is the strongest indicator of arrogance, which is why the Torah teaches, “I [Hashem] and he cannot live together in the same world”. 

Hashem is slow to anger and we are instructed to emulate His ways. Let us pay close attention: it does not say Hashem does not get angry, because He does! It is rather that He is SLOW to anger, and thus His anger is more deliberate and controlled, to teach us and help us avoid sin. King Shlomo teaches that we must train ourselves to be gentle-natured because “the words of the wise are heard with gentleness” (Kohelet (9:17). Torah therefore guides us to be patient, to be ‘bendable as a reed’, to work towards inner calm and to strive to be in self-control.

This training does not happen without a strong will and effort. It is a lifelong commitment to “remove anger from your heart and thereby put evil out of your flesh” (see Kohelet ,11:10). However, consistent training of our middot, Torah study and prayer may B”H help us to gradually move away from acting on impulse with anger to a more gentle and G-d-like response. We can fire up our will to overcome any angry outbursts by reminding ourselves that this training of our middot will benefit us not only in this world but more permanently and importantly in the World to Come.

Please share your comments, thoughts and questions in the comment section. Would love to hear from you.

Anger, Part I

February 8, 2016
Orit Esther Riter

2 comments

BS’D

 

Who can say they haven’t fallen prey to anger?

In Sefer Iyov (18:4) anger is described as “Toref nafsho be’apo (One who destroys his soul in his anger)”. That is, a person’s soul is consumed by anger. A person whose anger rules him is out of control and does not realize himself what has come over him. He is temporarily insane.

Kabbalah compares anger to fire and rage to a volcano. The reasons why anger can erupt include:

  • An unfulfilled need to be loved and to love. When our love is violated or unrequited, even in perception, we can become angry.
  • Unfulfilled potential. Rebbe Nachman ztk’l teaches that unfulfilled potential boils over and turns into anger. A person is filled with latent energy; when unused it gets stored. As the storage reaches its maximum, it looks to empty itself. Its expression spills forth in the form of anger.
  • Self-focus. As a person lives only for himself, he has no tolerance for others and clashes in anger with many around him.
  • A lack of emuna. Mankind seeks a superficial feeling of control and independence. Emuna is knowing that we are continuously dependent on Hashem and His kindness.

However, anger is a normal human emotion. Many of our holy sages battled to control their anger and in turn became the tzaddikim we know and respect today. The question is what does the Torah teach that we do with our anger. Hit a pillow? Scream? The Torah teaches us not to ignore one’s tendency towards anger. However, we must systematically work to uproot it from our midst. The Vilna HaGaon ztk’l teaches that even if a person learns Torah all his life, if they haven’t worked to correct their negative traits they will still have nothing to show for themselves in the World to Come.

Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated l’iluy nishmat Hadar Cohen HY’D the 19 year old army police officer brutally murdered last week by terrorists. May Hashem avenge her blood and 

Please share your comments, thoughts and questions in the comment section.  Would love to hear from you.

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