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Parashat Hukat


Anger is one of the most destructive human emotions that Maimonides wrote should never be expressed even for a positive outcome. A person, however, can feign anger for a greater good.


Moses in this week’s portion of the Parasha became enraged by the people and showed them his angry response. He then received an immediate harsh rebuke from G-d and was told that he will be relieved of his position as leader of the nation and will not be permitted to enter the land of Israel.


We may not have much choice when becoming angry. Someone offends us, and we reflexively feel angry. But after the initial, acute anger has occurred, how long are we going to hang onto it?


Let us assume that we are justified in feeling angry. What will we accomplish by continuing to harbor resentment? The Torah instructs us not to take revenge in any form. Since we are morally not permitted to retaliate, we will be the only ones who will be affected by our anger. The anger will eat away at us, putting us in a bad mood and physically affecting our sleep, digestion and metabolism. We will, therefore, be the ones who will suffer from retention of anger. Is it not silly to cause ourselves to suffer because of another person’s rude behavior?


King Solomon said, “Anger rests in the heart of a fool.”  By harboring and bearing grudges, we are being foolish to suffer the burden. If we wish to be wise, we must avoid doing something so foolish.