In this week’s Torah portion we read; ” Moses became angry with the officers of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, who had returned from the campaign of the war.”
I struggled with how to headline this Blog. I considered entitling it “I am angry” or “I am experiencing feelings of anger” or “Am I angry or hungry” or just simply “Anger management”. Or “42”.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that there is an increase in anger these days. Clearly, the protests in the United States had something to do with feelings of anger. Here in Israel on a regular basis, we hear about different protests by different groups against the government, often having to do with the present economic situation. And we are reading about Domestic abuse as well.
People, myself included, are under a great amount of stress. It’s not just the fear of getting sick and the lack of work. It’s also not being able yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
So maybe we argue more with our spouse. Or we have less patience for our children. Or we raise our voice at friends when we feel hurt.
Whatever the reason, we are living in an age of increased anger. And that is a very, very bad thing.
In this week’s Torah portion, Moses gets angry. It’s not the first time. Each and every time that Moses gets angry, he falls into a state of error, such as striking a rock when he is instructed to only speak to it.
That’s the problem with being angry. Anger clouds your judgment. When you are angry you are more likely to make mistakes, to say, and do things that are wrong (and in my case, regret). Which helps us understand why we are told to avoid anger at all costs (unless you’re faking it), even if your anger is justified. Yet even Moses was susceptible to anger, let alone us mere mortals.
First and foremost when dealing with a malady is identifying and recognizing that you suffer from that malady. That is what I am doing here. I get angry. Only after admitting that it is in fact a malady that you are suffering from can you begin to deal with it and be hopefully healed.
Personally, I cannot remember a single time throughout my life that expressing my anger has produced something positive. Unlike Moses, it has happened more than three times.
I wish that I could produce here some magic formula that would help us all deal better with any anger that we are presently experiencing. Maybe it’s anger itself that is clouding my ability to do so.
The Torah portion this week also deals with the 42 journeys of the Israelites before reaching the Promised Land. “The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.”
Maybe learning to deal with anger is my 42.