Monday, September 17, 2007

From Three To One

(Picture by Nicholas Pavloff)

In order to combat the aspects of my personality that I am least proud of, I decided to take it upon myself this Rosh Hashana to correct one my shortcomings. Initially, I wrote down the following three goals with the intent to work on them in the new year.

1) I will not yell or act out of anger.

2) I will be diligent to act in a friendly manner to any Jew whom my natural inclination is to avoid or ignore.

3) I will be diligent to control my thoughts from thinking about impure matters or thinking negative thoughts about a fellow Jew.

I let a few weeks pass by and revisited these goals. I decided that trying to accomplish all three of these three goals would be biting off more than I could chew so I decided to pick just one to work on; number 1.

Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh notes that overcoming one's anger plays a paramount role in one's avodas Hashem:

"Anger is a measuring rod for a person, through which the extent of one's faith in Hashem's Providence can be checked. The greater one's emunah in His Providence, the weaker is his trait of anger."

In order to ensure my success, I will view this goal as a daily goal instead of long-range goal. Each morning, I will read this goal to myself, speak to Hashem about it in hisbodedus, and tell myself that I don't have to do it every day, just the day that is before me. I will imagine that someone is going to pay me my entire yearly salary if I can refrain from expressing my anger for just that day alone.


At September 18, 2007 at 12:56:00 AM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Sounds like a solid plan!

I have had problems with anger over the years, too.
I was told by a pretty big Breslov Chassid that anger should be like the button on your shirt. Just like the buttons keep your shirt on, anger should not leave you or penetrate you. Thinking before I speak does help at time. I have heard parents yell at kids more time than I can keep count and it doesn't really help anything.

Usually the following two questions help keep me in check:

1)At the end of the day when I review how I've spoken to people will I be happy or ashamed with my behavior?
2) When my son/daughter/spouse reviews how I spoke to them at the end of the day what do I want their last thought about me to be before they go to sleep?

At September 18, 2007 at 6:13:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

#2 is a very powerful thought. I will certainly keep this in mind.


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