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Anger Is the Most Serious of Defects

Published on Sunday December 1st, 2019

"The most serious defect" is what the Ramban (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman) writes about anger.

The nature of anger brings in its wake serious mistakes. When man is dominated by his anger, he can lower himself to behave abhorrently, use unnecessary violence, lay charges against family members and close friends, and one may even end up attacking himself when swept away by fury.

The media reported that an 18-year-old man from Chadera (in northern Israel) stabbed a driver giving him moderate to severe injuries because the driver stopped for a few seconds at a green traffic light. The young man became angry at this "significant" delay, and as a result, stabbed the driver. The police immediately arrived and the young man was detained. Even if the story were to end here, we would know that this young man who got angry for 30 seconds (or less) lost many hours of his life at the police station and in his detention cell.

But the story did not stop there. We can assume that the court sentenced him to several days of detention until the end of the investigation, that he was then released to be placed under house arrest for an additional period. After a long trial, including long hours in court, hearings, meetings with lawyers, etc., he likely received a prison sentenced for a period of two to four years.

Let us now make a calculation: How many 30-second periods are there in two years?

We did the math.

365 days a year, times two (two years) times 24 (hours in the day) times 60 (number of minutes per hour) times 2 (each minute is composed of two 30 seconds).

Result: 2 102 400

Two million, one hundred and two thousand and four hundred times!

Was it worth it?

No, of course not!

This is besides the moral fault of having harmed another person, and beyond the fact that, for thirty seconds, this young man has almost turned into a killer (!), From a mathematical point of view too, it was not worth the trouble to commit such a cruel and stupid act.

Even if he were only detained for a day it was not worth it, not even for an hour at the police station.

So why did this violent young man choose to act so stupidly?

Because he was angry. He had a tantrum. He did not think about his actions. Since childhood, he has become accustomed to allowing himself to be carried away by his anger, to give free rein to fury in his language, and, later, in his actions.

It is not in vain that our Sages said: "He who breaks objects in his fury is like a man who worships idols. "

Nothing will come in the way of a man who lets himself be dominated by anger and comes to commit unworthy acts. Neither idolatry, nor, in our case, to eventually shed blood.

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