What do you do when you get angry? Slam a door? Yell at someone? Just sulk? Well, if you never get angry, that’s fantastic. However, most of us do struggle with feelings of anger. We are confident that everything should be the way we want it, and when things go awry, we become insecure and angry.
This week’s Torah portion, Ekev, encourages us to disavow idol worship in all its forms, even physically destroy idols. Sometimes though, the ‘idol’ isn’t really an image or sculpture; it is ourselves. Anger is a self-centered indulgence, a modern form of idolatry.
Anger is our reaction to things not going the way we think they should. I’ve put myself and my wants on such a high pedestal that nothing else matters. I’m so sure that things should go my way that, when they don’t, I feel threatened and out of control. I’ll attempt to exercise my control over something else to compensate. I may break an object or yell at someone to regain a feeling of security. All I see is myself. In that case my idol is what looks back at me in the mirror.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS about the ways they handle feelings of anger.
CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
- Talk about a few things that have made you angry.
- How could you have reacted differently?
- Is it ever good to get angry?
- Is it possible to think rationally about anger while you’re getting angry?
- Does taking a break before responding help to calm you down?
By Rabbi Moshe Becker
Values & Ethics—Through a Jewish Lens is created by Fred and Joyce Claar to bring the wisdom of Judaism into family discussions.