Anger Management by Yitzchak Richmond


Rashi, commenting on the plague of Tzefardeiah (frogs),  teaches us that the entire Makah started from one big frog. Each time the Egyptians hit the frog, more frogs appeared. The Steipler Gaon poses a very obvious question. Shouldn’t the people have realized that when they hit the big frog they were not improving the situation? Why did they continue to beat the frog even after they saw that such action was counterproductive?

The Steipler offers a simple yet and profound explanation. Although common sense would dictate that the Egyptians stop hitting the frog, their anger and frustration clouded their good judgment. Each time they hit the frog the Egyptians became angrier and angrier until finally, as a result of their constant beatings, the whole entire land was swarming with frogs. The Steipler’s answer teaches us that when we become angry and express our anger in an aggressive manner, the situation will never get better, and a small issue will explode into bigger problems which will only spread.

Additionally, one could ask why Paroh didn’t let the Jews go after the first few plagues. By then, he should have realized that he was fighting a losing battle against Hashem. If someone had as good a record as Moshe, predicting the timing of each plague, it would make sense to listen to him! Paroh was not a fool, so why couldn’t he comprehend something that a little child would understand?

The answer is that Paroh had another detrimental quality that clouded his judgment. Paroh was a Baal Gaavah, an arrogant person. Paroh thought of himself as divine. He was the leader of the most powerful ancient civilization. All the intelligence in the world is useless if it is clouded by attributes such as arrogance.

Although Pesach represents our physical redemption from slavery, it also represents our spiritual salvation. Kabbalists emphasize that Chameitz is the representation of our Yeitzer HaRa. When destroying the Chameitz, we should not be preoccupied exclusively with the physical actions but should also focus on the spiritual implications of what we are doing. Rabi Shimon ben Elazar (Pirkei Avot 4:23) tells us not to ask forgiveness from a person who is still angry. Rabi Shimon is teaching us that although after one’s friend will have had a little bit of time to analyze the source of his anger he will hopefully realize how trivial it is to harbor hatred and will absolve his friend, nevertheless when he is still angry his judgment will not be clear. If only people will not be so quick to anger, the world will be a much better place.

Which Holiday is it? by Michael Billet

Shevii Shel Pesach by Shai Berman