You Shall Not Bear a Grudge
Lo tikom v’lo titur
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge…
In this week’s Torah reading, we read that the community was without water and they complained bitterly to Moses. God instructed Moses to take his rod and speak to a certain rock, ordering it to produce water. Instead of following God’s command, Moses struck the rock with his rod, not once but twice, provoking God’s anger. (Meghan will tell you more in her dvar Torah – words of Torah – at her bat mitzvah this Shabbat morning!)
In Judaism, anger is considered a negative trait and restraining oneself from anger is a mitzvah. In Ethics of the Ancestors, Ben Zoma said, “Who is strong? One who subdues one’s evil inclination…” In its section dealing with ethical traits a person should adopt, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (summary guide to Jewish law) states: “Anger is also a very evil trait and it should be avoided at all costs. You should train yourself not to become angry even if you have a good reason to be angry.”
What pushes you to extreme anger? What are your trigger points and what are your coping mechanisms? Being conscious of both your triggers and your coping skills help you to manage your anger. Your mitzvah of the week is to discover those internal traits and begin working on improving yourself in this regard.