Monday, August 31, 2015

481 - Shelach

While many people succeed in suppressing feelings of anger in most scenarios, occasionally a situation may arise where they simply blow up. The instigation for the great anger is generally someone committing a severe offense which demands a stern response. The problem is that because the infraction caught our fuming friend off guard, instead of weighing his options and choosing a rational response, he erupted into a shouting frenzy which most likely did not achieve the desired results. How is one meant to overcome his anger and act sensibly when faced with such circumstances?

Rav Wolbe writes (Alei Shur vol. II pp. 219,220) that the answer can be found in Chazal and even traced back to this week's parsha. The Gemara (Brachos 7a) tells us that Hashem davens. "What does He daven? Said Rav Zutra bar Tuvi in the name of Rav, 'May it be My will that My compassion should suppress My anger. My compassion should overcome My other middos and I should deal with them (Bnei Yisrael) leniently.'" Hashem's anger is the attribute which demands perfection from His creations. Yet, His compassion has the ability to so to speak steamroll over all other attributes and change His reaction to one where He will act indulgently to His creatures. 

Any middah through which Hashem expresses Himself can also be found in ourselves. While we certainly know that a person has the ability to zealously arouse his anger at a wrongdoer, it is also true that he has the ability to override his anger. His compassion can be aroused to such a degree where it will act as a torrential waterfall which surges down the side of the mountain, eliminating all rocks and branches standing in its way. Because one's emotions of love and compassion are usually internally deeper and stronger than his emotion of anger they have the ability to overcome it.

It was with this idea in mind that Moshe davened to Hashem after the disaster created by the meraglim: "Now may the strength of Hashem be magnified" (Bamidbar 14:17), i.e. may Your great compassion supersede the anger aroused by this terrible misdeed. In a similar vein, a human being has the ability to magnify the strength of his compassion in a time of need and overcome anger kindled by even terrible infractions. Generally it is a parent who becomes livid with a child, a teacher with a student, or a spiritual leader with a constituent. All these mentors are people who inherently love their charges. The love and compassion for their charges is what must be aroused and magnified when they are inclined to become angry.

Practically how does one accomplish such a feat? It is very difficult to respond properly when caught off guard. Therefore, one must find ways of arousing his love at frequent intervals so that when a challenge does arrive he will be properly equipped to deal with it. One of the best ways of focusing on the love one feels for his charges is by davening for them. A day should not go by without offering a prayer for a child or a spouse. Likewise, a teacher should always have his students in mind. Not only does the tefillah itself effect tremendous results, it also increases our love for the recipient of the prayer and aids us in suppressing our anger - something we all strive to accomplish!

No comments: