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Torah Message from Rabbi Moldovan

The Parsha ends with the terrible story of the Mekalel – the son of an Egyptian man and Jewish woman, who blasphemed G-d’s name. The commentaries strive to explain how a person who experienced the Giving of the Torah, and who wanted to be part of the Jewish people, could fall to such depths in such a short time. The events that led up to his sin can help to shed light on this question.  He was in a tragically unique situation in that he was the only member of the Jewish people who had an Egyptian father.  Moreover, each Jew was ascribed to his Tribe, and Tribe membership was determined by the father, yet his father was non-Jewish. He claimed membership of the Tribe of Dan which was his mother’s Tribe, but they refused to accept him.  They went to Moshe Rabbeinu’s Beis Din who ruled against the Mekalel.  Immediately after that he went out and blasphemed Hashem. How could this man have stooped so low in this instance? The explanation is anger - he was angry at the way he was treated and this anger caused him to do something so negative that was far beyond anything else that he had done in his lifetime. This is a reminder that anger can be so damaging in that it can bring a person to behave in a manner that would be totally incomprehensible for him in a time of calm. Anger can make a person act irrationally and cause irreparable damage. How can one overcome anger? Certainly, it is a lifelong process of self-development but the following story may provide an approach that can at least help a person realize how silly he is when he is taken over by anger. There was a man who was doing well in every aspect of life, with one exception – he had a terrible temper. It had reached the point where all of his relationships were in danger of being destroyed.  After many failed attempts at rectifying this trait, he went to the great Torah sage known as the Steipler Gaon and told him about the problem. The Steipler told him that he could heal him of his anger, on one condition – that he stare at the Steipler for several minutes without turning away once. He acceded to this seemingly strange request without understanding how it would help.  As soon as he started looking at the Steipler, the Sage started making bizarre facial expressions, reminiscent of those of someone who is in a fit of fury. Needless to say, the Steipler looked bizarre – at the end he told the man that he looked just as ridiculous when he flew into his fits of anger. If we carry this attitude then we may have the ability to extinguish the flames of anger from our lives.

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