May 25, 2024
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Unnecessary Anger

In the spring of 1894, the Baltimore Orioles came to Boston to play a routine baseball game. What happened that day was anything but routine. The Orioles’ John McGraw got into a fight with the Boston third baseman. Within minutes all the players from both teams had joined in the brawl. The warfare quickly spread to the stands. Among the fans the conflict went from bad to worse. Someone set fire to the stands and the entire ballpark burned to the ground. Not only that, but the fire spread to 107 other Boston buildings as well.

Rashi notes that Makas Tzefardeiya began with a single frog. Each time the Egyptians hit the frog it would release many other frogs until Egypt was filled with frogs. The Steipler asks how the Egyptians could continue to hit the frogs if they saw that each hit was worsening their situation.

His answer is that this is the power of anger. It defies logic. It has a person act in ways that just keep the difficulties growing and growing instead of finding solutions for the situations that brought on the anger in the first place.

In our lives, marriages, business relationships, and social interactions, invariably there will be times when slights happen and people get upset. However, taking the time to lead with a cool, clear head will help curb the destructive path of the fires of emotional anger.

Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Schwartz, Clinical Director of the Center for Anxiety Relief in Union, NJ has been a mental health provider since 1995. Dr. Schwartz received his BA, MA, and PsyD from Yeshiva University. He is also a non-resident Faculty Scholar at the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health of Duke University.

By Rabbi Jonathan Schwartz

Congregation Adath Israel, Elizabeth

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