Askmoses-A Jews Resource
Where will the Resurrection take place?
Browse our archives

The Scholar is ready to answer your question. Click the button below to chat now.


Scholar Online:

Type in your question here:

Click the button below to either CHAT LIVE with an AskMoses Scholar now - or - leave a message if no Scholar is currently online.

CHAT or LEAVE A MESSAGE

The Antidote to Anger

by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg

  

Library » Jewish Identity » Love thy Neighbor | Subscribe | What is RSS?


PRINT EMAIL COMMENT

With regard to judging or condemning the apparent shortcomings and misdeeds of another, our sages have said, “Do not judge your fellow until you have reached his place” (Avot 2:4).

Chassidut explains that since one can never really reach another’s “place," never fully understanding the motivations behind his behavior, he is unable to judge him (Sefat Emet).

Nonetheless, “until you have reached his place" implies that one should try to understand his fellow as best he can, to draw himself as close to his fellow’s “place" as possible, relating to him (both intellectually and emotionally) with a greater and deeper expression of love.

As one comes closer to his fellow, his perspective towards him begins to change. He begins to see him in a more favorable light, and even to recognize that the apparent blemishes he had observed in him are actually reflections of identical, though less apparent, blemishes in himself. He is now able to fulfill the complementary dictum of our sages, “Judge all men favorably" (Avot 1:6), and to apply the teaching of the Ba’al Shem Tov on the verse, “You shall surely rebuke your fellow." First one must rebuke himself (with regard to the same fault he sees in his fellow), and only then is he able to constructively rebuke his fellow.

This teaching of the Ba’al Shem Tov follows and lends additional insight to the advice given by Reish Lakish: “First rectify yourself, and then rectify others" (Bava Batra 60b). The word used here for “rectify" (keshot) literally means “adorn." As “adorning" alludes to the relationship of a husband and wife, we infer that the general teaching, “First rectify yourself and then rectify others" most specially applies to the partners of marriage.

When one realizes that the rectification of another depends upon the rectification of oneself, one learns to be patient with others. Patience is the antidote to anger. Only towards one’s own evil inclination is anger in order, as our sages teach: “One should always stir up the anger of his good inclination against his evil inclination" (Berachot 5a). With regard to others in general, and one’s spouse in particular, one must strive to assume the Divine attribute of “infinite patience."

Infinite patience is the consciousness—the infinitely broad “space" of mind—which fosters one’s ability to wait for conflict to resolve itself, to suspend judgment, to continuously check and control one’s innate tendency to relate to others impulsively. It is the key to avoiding the damage one inflicts upon oneself and others when unable to control the responses of his “first nature" to life situations. All of the great, archetypal sins recorded in the Torah resulted from a basic lack of patience.


ADD A COMMENT

Please email me when new comments are posted (you must be  logged in).

COMMENTS

The Antidote to Anger

Posted by: Anonymous on Jun 05, 2006

Thank you, although we could probably all say, "I know that" about many of the points in the article. How many of us utilize what we know? It is true sometimes we are like children and need to have certain things explained to us, the point of patience and not acting impulsively is well taken. I feel much better and feel I have better tools to help me to be more patient now!

Thank you for your guiding thoughts!


RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Love thy Neighbor
Philosophy » Happiness

Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Zohar
The most basic work of Jewish mysticism. Authored by Rabbi Shimeon bar Yochai in the 2nd century.
Rashi
Acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105). Legendary French scholar who authored the fundemental and widely accepted "Rashi commentary" on the entire Bible and Talmud.
Chassidut
The teachings of the Chassidic masters. Chassidut takes mystical concepts such as G-d, the soul, and Torah, and makes them understandable, applicable and practical.
Sanhedrin
The Jewish Supreme Court. The court would convene in a designated chamber in the Holy Temple, and was comprised of 71 of the greatest scholars of the time. Continued after the destruction of the Temples, but was dissolved in the 5th century when due to Roman persecution the seat of Torah scholarship relocated from Israel to Babylon.
Moses
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
Adam
The first man, created by G-d on the sixth day of creation. He was banished from the Garden of Eden after eating from the forbidden fruit of the forbidden knowledge. Died in 2830 BCE.
Avot
"Ethics of our Fathers." A tractate of the Mishna (original rendition of the Oral Law) which discusses Jewish ethics and piety.
David
King of Israel who succeeded Saul, becoming king of Israel in 876 BCE. Originally a shepherd, he became popular after he killed the Philistine strongman, Goliath. He is the progenitor of the Davidic royal dynasty -- which will return to the throne with the arrival of King Messiah.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.