Anger Won't Get You Anywhere

After Miriam’s death, there was no more water left for B’nai Yisrael to drink. B’nai Yisrael complained to Moshe. God told Moshe to take his staff and assemble the community and speak to the rock and the rock will give forth water. Moshe took the staff and assembled the community before the rock. However, instead of speaking to the rock, Moshe said (Bamidbar 20:10-12) “Listen, you rebels! Can we extract water from this rock for you?” And Moshe raised his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice; water rushed out abundantly, and the community and their livestock drank. God said to Moshe and Aharon, “Because you did not believe in Me to sanctify Me in the presence of B’nai Yisrael; therefore you will not bring the congregation into the land that I have given them.”

According to the Midrash (Sifrei) because Moshe was angry he made the mistake and hit the rock.

Rambam says that Moshe’s transgression was that in his anger he said “Listen you rebels”.

In the Talmud, Masechet Pesachim 66b, Reish Lakish said: Concerning any person that becomes angry: if he is a wise man, his wisdom deserts him; if he is a prophet, his prophecy deserts him. In other words, when a person gets angry the Shechina, Divine Presence leaves him.

Because of that one angry moment, Moshe lost his chance to enter the Land of Israel.

The following Mishna is taught in Pirkei Avot (Ethics of Our Fathers) 4:18: Rabbi Shimon Ben Eleazar said: Do not appease your friend at the hour of his anger…

Every human, even Moshe gets angry and damage done while a person is angry may be impossible to undo.

Living in the year 2007, when each of us has the opportunity to be in Israel, we should not let anger keep us away. Of course, there are a lot of things that can make us angry: crazy drivers, cultural differences, corrupt politicians, poor work ethic, poverty and the threat of terrorists. However, the there are many good things that outweigh the bad and should make us happy and proud to be here such as being able to live our lives according to the Jewish calendar, having Judaism at our fingertips and having the opportunity to walk the Land that Moshe Rabenu would have given anything to touch.