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Letting Go of Anger

You know that feeling when you are angry, and it is hard to let it go? We all know anger can negatively affect our physical and mental being, our professional and personal relationships, and so much more. When I read this week’s Torah portion, to me, it spoke directly to this topic and reinforced some important points that are important to remember.

The sentences that caught my attention were:

“If a man is guilty of a capital offense and is put to death, and you impale him on a stake, you must not let his corpse remain on the stake overnight but must bury him the same day. For an impaled body is an affront to God; you shall not defile the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.” - Deuteronomy 22.21 (Shoftim)

When reading the sentence “…you must not let his corpse remain on the stake overnight but must bury him the same day”, I immediately thought of the importance of needing to find a way to let anger go and move forward. While this passage says it is “an affront to God”, I see it as an affront to ourselves and potentially others around us. Anger is a valid feeling, and we should not pretend it does not exist when it happens. And we need to also find a way to release the anger and move forward. The question is, how?

One thing I like to do is write a letter to the cause of the anger, that I never send, expressing everything I want to say. For me, this gets it out of my system. While other practices exist and everyone should find what works best for them, the ultimate goal is we continue to work to let go of anger and move forward with a positive outlook and desire to reach our goals in a collaborative, productive way.

I continue to work on this myself and suspect I will for a long time. My goal is to simply get better at it so with time, it becomes easier to do and ultimately, removes the power of anger.

If anyone finds themselves struggling with letting go of anger, there are many resources to help. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Cantor Friedman or me to help direct you to resources. This is what community is all about.

- Sarabeth Salzman

A few important notes:

1. I am not advocating a guilty person should be put on a stake. Just in case there was any doubt in your mind.

2. I strongly identify as a Jewish individual. And I am still figuring out my beliefs in God. So when studying Torah I work to find a connection to current times, outside of the reason that “God said so.” I share this to help you understand how I study and interrupt Jewish text.

3. Most important: I am not a Rabbi, Cantor, or Jewish Educator so my interpretation is mine and mine alone. It is also for this very reason that Cantor Friedman and Rabbi Zedek prefer me to stay in the realm of anything and everything except religious issues 😊


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