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CHUKAT
Numbers 19:1 - 22:1
Shabbat, July 15, 2000 - 11 TAMUZ 5760

From The Chicago Torah Network 

"MOSES SAID TO THEM: LISTEN TO ME YOU REBELS (20:10)."

Moses. One of the greatest people of all time. Put yourself in his shoes. He had an extremely difficult job. Leading an entire nation. Through the desert. And of all people? The Jews. Not an ďeasyĒ people to begin with! They complain to him again and again. And after many years, he finally loses control. Gets angry. Lashes out at them. Could we blame him? Probably not.

But the Torah does. It tells us that by getting angry, Moses sinned. A big sin. Because in Jewish tradition, almost nothing is as bad as losing your temper.

Picture it: Itís been one of those days! Nothingís gone right. Youíre tense. Canít wait to get home and unwind. Youíre stuck at a red light. And the car behind you taps your car.

Itís a very light tap. And you ignore it. It can happen to anyone. Then it happens again. A little harder. And youíre getting irritated. And before you can do anything, you see the car back up. And hit you again.

Your blood is starting to boil. And then he does it again! And you lose it! You jump out.

ďLet me at him! Iíll ...Ē

Then you see the driver of the other car get out. Six foot five inches tall. Walking towards you. Waving a baseball bat. And what do you do? Probably say something like: ďOh. Iím sorry. Was I in your way?Ē And you get back into your car. And get out of there as fast as you can.

That was pretty amazing self control. Just a minute ago you were ready to kill the guy. What happened?

The answer: It became crystal clear to you. That being angry was not in your best interest. Thatís all it took.

Itís something to think about, to remember the next time something gets to us. Anger is almost never in our best interest.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

ďI use to worry about not losing an argument. Until I realized that there was something more important to worry about. Not losing myself.Ē

The Chicago Torah Network (CTN) is a Jewish outreach and adult education program that provides an informal environment for Jews of all backgrounds and affiliations to explore Jewish thought, beliefs, ethics, culture and practice. CTN is recognized as a leader in the battle for Jewish continuity.

Contact CTN at torahnet@mcs.com.

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