Friday, November 14, 2008

The Rewards of Letting Go of Anger

Chazal teach the negative consequences, in this world and the next, of indulging the terrible middah of anger. From this we can see that the inverse is true—there are many rewards, in this world and the next, for making the effort to master one’s temper.
One of the housewives in the old Yishuv of Jerusalem laboriously washed a load of linen by hand and hung it on a line across the courtyard, as was usual in those days. Her neighbor, who was in a bad mood over something that had happened to her, became frustrated when her way was blocked by a washing line. In her anger, she cut the washing line, causing the linen to fall in the mud and become soiled. Without one word of recrimination, the first housewife rewashed the full load and hung it out elsewhere. She did not even mention the incident to her husband.
That night, the neighbor’s child became seriously ill. The neighbor realized that her inconsiderate act that day was the cause, and rushed over to the housewife she had wronged. She begged her neighbor’s forgiveness, and pleaded with her to daven for her child. The first housewife did, and the child recovered.
The following year, the virtuous woman who had never yet had children was blessed with a son. This boy grew up to become Rav Elyashiv, shlit”a, one of the outstanding chachomim and poskim of this generation.

7 comments:

ya'akov said...

wow, this is amazing. this is a tikkun/refuah piece. thank you so much fo posting this!
yasher koach!

Shorty said...

Hashem granted us to power to choose - we can choose to be angry or to be happy - to seek revenge or let things go.

The second is often the most difficult one...

Shorty said...

...but does Judaism "advocate" we reap what we sow concepts?

ya'akov said...

there is a concept of 'measure for measure' in talmud; however, there is also much discussion re the power of tshuvah and the kindness of H' going beyond what we humanly perceive.

Micha Golshevsky said...

Shorty: I decided to write a post regarding your fist point.
Regarding your second question: It really depends on the person. Sometimes avoiding the same act is very difficult for one person but easy for another. Hashem judges each accordingly.
For example a convert or ba'al teshuvah who struggles to say the words of an abbreviated davening will reap great rewards. Someone brought up davening their entire life may even be asked why they didn't say the entire service.
As Ya'akov intimated, although there is a "reap what we sow" aspect, there is no hard and fast rule.
Furthermore, it is usually very hard to perceive this clearly in this world. Once a certain important person broke a leg and claimed that this happened solely because he didn't rush to serve Rav Ya'akov Kaminetzky who had just moved into the area.
When Rav Ya'akov heard about this he declared, "What arrogance! Who can really be sure why he suffers? Only a person who has only one sin to his name!"

Shorty said...

I think in terms of reaping what we sow, only the person doing the reaping, can fully know that whatever happens to them is a result of their own actions. Other than than, only Hashem can judge...

What i mean is, if that person broke their leg, if they are truly self aware, they will know why it happened. Could it be they didn't serve the Rabbi, or could it be that they were walking on some slippery steps and was worried about falling and then fell. or did someone push them...Only the person with the broken leg, can fully understand why it happened.

My own opinions of course :)

Micha Golshevsky said...

Shorty: You are correct regarding knowing the physical cause of a broken leg. Usually one knows how it happened(unless it happened too fast, he was very preoccupied,unconscious etc...)
But I must disagree regarding the cosmic cause of a broken leg (or whatever else.)
As I once wrote for my friend at "A Simple Jew": "...The true Tzaddikim know with certainty about the root of the problem; we are only making an attempt based on our limited understanding as a kind of hishtadlus and as a way of being mefashfeish b'maaseinu. As Reb Nosson of Breslov writes, everything we go through is solely to get us to turn to Hashem. Does that mean that I am correct if I have a feeling that the lesson to learn is from... and not another aspect of the experience? Only if I have the humility to realize that very likely I am not correct but I should use whatever comes to mind since that seems compelling to me. It is likely that if it appeals to me, something in that area truly needs fixing even if I haven't reached the depths of truth."
To put it simply: Just because someone feels something is true doesn't make it so...