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Tikvah: How Do We Deal With Anger?

07/01/2022 08:56:20 AM

Jul1

Rabbinic Intern Greg Marcus

This has been a difficult month for our country. From mass shootings to the Supreme Court’s   expected ruling on abortion, to the January 6th hearings, many people are feeling strong emotions, including, but not limited to anger.

Maimonides said “Whosoever yields to anger, if he be a wise man his wisdom leaves him, and if he be a prophet his prophecy leaves him." (Human Dispositions 2:3) Notice the phrase “yields to anger.” It doesn’t say “feels anger” it says “yields to anger.” Yielding to anger is giving in to our worst impulses, such as yelling, flaming on social media, or being judgmental about a whole group of people. For example, if I am mad about the January 6th hearings, and decide that everyone who disagrees with me is naïve and a puppet, I am yielding to anger. Similarly, if I am angry about limits on abortion, and think that everyone who agrees with limits wants to oppress women, I am yielding to anger. And the impact? I forget my wisdom. I forget that good people can disagree about vitally important issues.

Notice that Maimonides does not say channeling anger is bad. He does advise that we avoid getting angry in other writings, but that is not humanly possible. We get angry sometimes. The key is not to let the anger consume us or push us to actions that make the situation worse, not better.

This year the Tikva team has been working to bring together congregants from across the political and social spectrum in our community. We’ve had three events so far, the most recent being our second Tikva Shabbat on June 18th. Participants have walked away enthusiastic and hopeful that we can do better at CBJ than the country is doing as a whole. It is easy to give into despair about the divides in our country, and the very real political, social, economic, and ecological challenges we face.

When we get practice talking to one another over serious issues, we realize that things are not hopeless at all, and each of us has an opportunity to contribute to healing the divide in our country.

If you’d like to get involved, please email Tikva@bethjacobrwc.org.

Mark the following upcoming events on your calendar:

  • Sunday, July 17th, 3pm – 5pm. Come watch the short movie “Purple” and join in the discussion over wine and appetizers. Click here for more info.

  • Sunday, September 18th, 2:30pm - 5:30pm.  “Bridging the Divide” workshop.

Finally, if you have personally been struggling to bridge a political or social divide with someone in your family and want to talk to someone, please reach out to Rabbinic Intern Greg Marcus at gmarcus@bethjacobrwc.org.

Mon, August 15 2022 18 Av 5782