Ahf - When Anger Burns
by Lois Tverberg
Hebrew has a very interesting word for anger, which is ahf. It is also the word for "nose" or "nostril," and when someone is very angry, his anger is said to "burn" (harah - ha-RAH). It's a picture of a person so furious that his face is flushed and his nostrils get hot.
In the Scriptures there is an interesting lesson we can learn about anger. Jewish commentaries discuss why God decided after Moses struck the rock not to allow Moses to enter the Promised Land. They suggest that perhaps the reason was not the simple fact that Moses disobeyed God by hitting the rock instead of speaking to it. Rather, could it be that instead of speaking calmly and honoring God by showing that he would provide water, Moses let his rage at the people so overwhelm him that he forgot to honor God and struck the rock out of fury? The commentators imaginatively suggest that after many long years with this obstinate people, Moses had finally reached his limit, and his anger simply overwhelmed him. At that point God decided that another leader must be raised up to complete the mission of entering the land.
These two stories show us how even the wisest can get worn down by frustrations over the years. One rabbinic comment is that, "When a wise man lets his anger overcome him, he loses all his wisdom." We need to seek relief from our anger before it costs us our ability to lead. Certainly this is all the more true in marriage - uncontrolled anger and contempt is often what brings them to an end.
| ©2005 Lois A. Tverberg, Ph.D., OurRabbiJesus.com. All rights
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