Halacha for Wednesday 19 Iyar 5780 May 13 2020

Anger

Our Sages teach us in Pirkei Avot (Chapter 4, Mishnah 4): “Rabbi Levitas of Yavneh says: One must be exceedingly low of spirit.” The lowness of spirit mentioned here refers to humility, for anyone who is not humble, besides for transgressing the sin of haughtiness which is a grave sin in and of itself, this can also lead one to transgress all of the sins of the Torah.

One of the sins to which haughtiness can lead a person is anger, which is a repulsive character trait indeed. Our Sages have taught (Nedarim 22b), “One who is angry does not even consider the presence of Hashem important,” for when one is angry, one acts completely out of character and acts in ways that never would have occurred to him had he been in his right state of mind. For instance, if one starts to argue with one’s wife or other family members, this can sometimes cause one to say inappropriate things that he never would have said otherwise. All this was said in a brief moment of insanity. As a result of the hurtful and insulting things one says, one will need to work for numerous days and nights to repair the damage he has caused.

 The Sefer Kol Bo (Chapter 41, quoted by Maran Ha’Bet Yosef at the end of Chapter 299) records an incident that once occurred with a man who was smitten with boils from head to toe and whose entire body was racked by sores and fresh wounds. Once, his wife went on a certain Motza’ei Shabbat to draw water from the well and warm it up for drinking as was customary for all the women in the neighborhood, for the Gemara teaches us (Shabbat 119b), “Hot water on Motza’ei Shabbat heals.” At this particular time, water from “Miriam’s Well” (which moves around from place to place) found its way into this particular well. The woman filled up her jug with water from this well and started home. Due to the weight of the jug of water, the woman’s arrival home was delayed. When she finally arrived, her husband become very agitated about her lateness and screamed at her; she became was so scared that the jug dropped from her shoulder and the water spilled in all directions. Only a few drops splashed on the man’s skin and wherever they did, the boils there vanished and the skin under them became like as smooth as a baby’s. Had he not become angry, he would have been able to drink that water and become completely healed.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l recounted another amusing incident regarding anger:

There was once a man who owned a cement truck which he used for work. This man had a marked parking spot next to his house which was reserved for him and which clearly stated that no one else may park there.

One day, when he arrived home from work, he saw an expensive sports car parked in his spot. He was enraged and thought to himself, “Who is this insolent fool who parked in my spot?!” In his rage, he went to get his cement truck and poured cement all over this luxury vehicle, inside and out. When he finally entered his home, everyone jumped up and yelled, “Surprise!” He asked them what was going on. His family said, “In honor of your birthday, we decided to surprise you and we bought you an expensive sports car which is actually parked right outside!”

We see clearly from this story how terrible anger is, for it can remove a person from this world and it can cause a person to do things that, at the end, will be to his own detriment.

Thus, one must take care to slowly remove anger from within himself until one finds himself calm and tranquil in all of his actions; this will serve to bring peace between one and the rest of one’s household.

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