21 Iyar 5779 / Sunday, May 26, 2019 | Torah Reading: Bamidbar
 
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HomeSpirituality and FaithPersonal GrowthFrom Emotion to Action
 
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From Emotion to Action    

From Emotion to Action



With emuna, emotion itself becomes action. Thoughts become deeds. We utilize these feelings to become better people and bring much needed Divine light to the world.

 



Anger is a lot like nuclear energy.
 
If we channel  it correctly, it has the power to light up a city. If we can't control it, it will destroy everything in its path.
 
What is anger exactly?
 
According to Rabbi Lazer Brody in The Trail to Tranquility, anger is the degree to which our expectations outweigh our realizations. To the extent that things don't go the way we want them to is the level of anger we feel in a given situation.
 
The gap can be seen with two sets of eyes.
 
With one set of eyes, we can be frustrated at everything around us. Without emuna, we can feel helpless against an intimidating and uncaring world. We can convince ourselves that there is nothing we can do about all the injustices we suffer every day.
 
That's when anger becomes a consuming energy.
 
Then there is anger with emuna. Anger with emuna is when we truly are upset at something, but we see it as a wake-up call for self-improvement, a communication from Hashem.
 
Have you ever been angry at certain things without figuring out why this, and not something equally annoying has flipped your top? Has a friend, or a spouse, or even a government done things that you were willing to "let slide," yet the next time they did something less aggravating you were ready to go ballistic?
 
What if these feelings were Divine messages? What if the anger itself was a Divine indicator signaling that there are opportunities for self-improvement behind this flash of fury? After all, if anger itself is a void, why can't we see it as a chance to fill it? Why would Hashem give us this specific sense of outrage over this specific issue if there wasn't anything we could do about it?
 
When our anger devolves into feelings of helpless rage, could it be the yetzer hara trying to mislead us into believing there is nothing we can do but scream? The understanding that we have to accept something we don't like is coming from a very bad place. It's his goal to keep us feeling helpless – not ours!
 
The best remedy for anger is action.
 
When we are filled with virulent emotion towards a workmate, friend, or family, the best opportunity lies in asking ourselves, "why are we angry?" "What’s really making us mad?"
 
If we cannot come up with a solution in asking ourselves, we can ask Hashem. We can beseech Hashem in our personal prayers to grant us insight as to why we are so upset, and to instruct us as to what we should do about it. The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches us that the brightest sparks of light are found deep within the greatest concentrations of darkness. How much more so within the darkness that attacks our daily lives!
 
Let's take, for example, a spouse. We learn in Rabbi Shalom Arush's The Garden of Peace that when our wife display's a specific trait that we husbands find annoying, it is really not her. Our wives are a mirror of ourselves and that whatever we find displeasing about our loved ones is really something we need to work on within ourselves. We can always deflect anger in a marriage by understanding the message. Every point of contention with our spouse has the potential to become a personal advertisement from Hashem on how to make a better you.
 
What about a source of anger that is "beyond our control?"
 
How do we react when we get infuriated about a head of state or a nation doing things we strongly oppose? There is little we can do about it. All we can do is try to accept a situation we find completely unacceptable. How do we react to a situation like this? What do we do when our expectations can never be equaled by the "facts on the ground," and there is nothing we can do about it?
 
We dance for joy.
 
Hashem is giving us the gift of stronger emuna. The biggest challenges of our emuna come when we do have reason to be angry without end! It is when we override our instincts and make the effort to remember that everything that happens in this world comes directly from Hashem and is designed for a greater purpose. Hashem loves us and His actions are for our own good!
 
When it comes to emuna – emotion itself becomes an action. Thoughts become deeds. We utilize these feelings to become better people and bring much needed Divine light to the world.
 
This is how we turn anger into action.
 
Anger in its raw form is energy, passion, and intensity has the potential to serve as a catalyst for greater accomplishments. Fueled with these high-octane emotions, our deeds will make an impact far greater than most things we do in life. It is up to us to seize the opportunity to override ourselves, and channel these energies towards a greater good.
 
 
* * *
Dovber Halevi is the author of the financial book, How to Survive the Coming Decade of Anxiety. He writes for Breslev Israel and The Middle East Magazine. He lives with his wife and two children in Eretz Yisrael.





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  1 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  1.
  a chiddush!!!!!
yehudit3/23/2011 10:23:29 AM
     
 

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