Can One Realistically Never Be Angry?
"I have been trying to follow the moral conducts as outlined in chapter 8 of Part I : “The Fundamentals of the Faith” in the book “THE DIVINE CODE” by Rabbi Moshe Weiner. While certainly most of the points regarding the conduct were already being followed by me, I find it is becoming difficult to follow the first point: never to be angry.
I am by heart very peaceful.
I do think however that anger does serve useful purposes at times. I find it difficult to “not take revenge” or much more “don’t hold a grudge.” Are not these points good for books yet unpractical in real life? I am certain I am wrong in my understanding in some ways. So please explain to me the dichotomy in the points written and the real world which is so different. I love to do/follow anything wholeheartedly, and I find it problematic to follow some of these conducts in my business dealings (for example, controlling my employees, dealing with cunning people, etc.). I would request you to throw some light on this fundamental question: is anger or holding a grudge always wrong?
Sorry if all these questions sounds too stretched, but I am just trying to please G-d with all my heart!"
P.S.: “The Divine Code” is an amazing book indeed.
You’re correct that it is possible for anger to serve a useful purpose in some specific situation, because G-d created everything for a purpose – including anger. I will explain that last.
The problem arises when a person allows his capacity for anger to flare up and take hold when it shouldn’t. This is anytime when a person’s anger would be a demonstration of lack of faith in G-d. A person needs to understand the true essence of a situation, and then accept that intellectually. Because the mind has a natural power of control over the emotions, the emotions will follow the way that the person thinks about the situation.
There are two aspects of the proper understanding, and these are like two sides of the same coin:
(1) Everything happens by Divine Providence – as G-d wills it to be at that moment. Once something has happened, then by default it is established that it was G-d’s will. Therefore, the book of Zohar teaches that “Whoever is in a rage is as if he worships idols.” If the person truly believed that what already happened was done by G-d, he wouldn’t become angry.
This does not change the fact that the person who made him angry was acting with freedom of choice, and is responsible for the damage and/or sin that he committed, and is liable by G-d’s and the society’s laws for the wrong that was done. Nevertheless, in regard to any harm or inconvenience or challenge that was inflicted, it was decreed by G-d that this would befall that person in one way or another, for the sake of an ultimately good purpose. (In the words of the Sages, “This too is for the best.”) Of course, G-d obligates others to help the victim in a way of goodness and kindness, and victim to help himself as much as possible.
(2) Everything that exists is constantly being created out of nothing by G-d’s creative divine speech. This is not meant in a general way, but rather in every detail, at every instant, just as it was during the first six days of creation. At the end of the sixth day of creation, after Adam and Hava (Eve) had erred by eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad and they temporarily brought physical death into the world, G-d looked over His creation and declared that it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). The same applies at every instant in time since then.
Therefore the true existence of every being and every event is the creative force of the combinations of the letters of divine speech that G-d is speaking. So if there is a person who is being harmed, and one who is harming him, both are united at every moment as different details of the overall creation that G-d is bringing into existence at that instant, in a way that is “very good”. In some places and situations this goodness is revealed, and in some places and situations it is concealed. When the Messiah (Moshiach) comes speedily in our days, and brings in the perfection of the Messianic Era, the occupation of the entire world will only be to know G-d.
Then the goodness of everything that happened will be revealed and understood, because it will be revealed how everything that happened was part of leading the world to the Messianic Era. Our job is to be improving the world in general or in any detail at every opportunity that G-d gives us, so that we will be partners with G-d in this process.
So if a person becomes angered by something that happened, he is denying that goodness by thinking that he knows better about what should have happened, and conceptually this is like the idea of rejecting G-d and worshiping false gods of one’s own choosing, which is idol worship.
So when is anger good and proper?
It may happen that you will see someone sinning or about to sin. who is your colleague, who respects you and who is habitually with you in the observance of G-d’s commandments. This even includes a time when you observe yourself sinning, or being tempted to sin. At that time you may rationally determine that if you display anger about that situation, you may be able to accomplish the good and meritorious deed of warning off the person (even yourself) from committing the wrongdoing.
The prime example of this is when Moses become angered about the sin of the golden calf that he observed in progress when he came down from Mount Sinai. By displaying his anger to the people and breaking the precious first tables of the Ten Commandments before their eyes, he was able to stop them from continuing in their sin.
This act of Moses was greatly pleasing to G-d, because it saved the Jews from being destroyed, and it taught them the power of repentance.
On the other hand, just prior to that, Aaron witnessed the people sinning, but he know that if he displayed anger, the people would not listen to him, and in fact they would they would turn against him. So he held his peace and trusted in G-d that Moses would soon return as he promised and save the situation.
Likewise when we see a negative situation that can’t be improved by letting ourselves get angry for a moment, we should trust that Moshiach (the true Messiah) will come at any moment to rectify the situation, and in the meantime we should do what is in our power to improve the situation in a positive, constructive way that is in accordance with G-d’s commandments and a person’s obligation to act in the morally upright ways that are taught in the Torah-based Noahide Code.