web analytics
June 30, 2015 / 13 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Your Middos Are Killing You


The-Shmuz

“As they oppressed them, so did they multiply. And they were repulsed because of Bnei Yisrael.” – Shemos 1:12

Yosef, his brothers, and their entire generation had passed on. A new era was beginning in Mitzrayim, and with it came a new attitude. When the Jews had first entered the land they were received as celebrated guests. After all, they were brothers of the great Yosef who had saved the nation. That sense of appreciation was now gone. No longer were the Jews respected and revered, no longer were they welcome. They had become a thorn in the side of the Mitzrim.

And it went downhill from there. As has happened so often in history, the Jews were soon viewed as outsiders and as foreigners – unwanted, unwelcome, feared. That fear turned to hate when the common wisdom said, “If a foreign people shall attack, the Jews in our midst will join them in battle and throw us out from our land.” The Jews had become the enemy of the state.

The only choice was to get rid of them. The first step was to oppress them, then to torture them, and finally to enslave them. Yet despite the hardships placed upon them, the Jewish nation flourished. The Mitzrim found themselves confounded by this despised enemy within their borders who would soon outnumber them.

Interestingly, when the Torah describes their hatred toward the Jews, it doesn’t say, “They found the Jews disgusting,” or “They were disgusted with the Jews.” It says, “They were disgusted because of the Jewish people.”

Rashi explains that because of their hatred of the Jews, their own lives had become disgusting. They had become disgusted with themselves.

This Rashi is difficult to understand. How did their hatred toward the Jews make their own lives disgusting? It’s the Jews they hated, not themselves.

The answer to this question can be understood with an observation about human nature.

We humans are highly social. Our interactions are governed by many subtle cues and conventions. One of the skills needed to get along well with others is the ability to know how they perceive us, and what they are feeling. Is that guy in a good mood or bad? Is he open to my advances or not?

Most of us do this intuitively. Before we say something, we look at the other person and instantly know if he is pleased or upset, happy or distressed, and we modify our exchanges accordingly. Many children, however, find this skill elusive. And they must be taught to recognize the physical signs that correspond to different emotions.

One of the techniques used is to teach the child to “read faces.” A therapist will show the child a picture of a person’s face and then help her identify the emotion that person was most likely feeling. “See, when the end of the mouth curves up, that’s a smile, and that means he’s happy. When his forehead crinkles up, and his mouth moves down like that, it means he’s angry.”

While most feelings have distinct physical appearances and are easy enough to distinguish, there are two that are remarkably similar: anger and hatred. In both, the person’s face shows displeasure. In both, the person looks genuinely unhappy. And in both the person seems to be in pain. As a result, teaching a child which face represents hate and which represents anger is very difficult. One thing is clear, though: neither face is smiling. Because both anger and hatred aren’t satisfying, enjoyable experiences. Quite the opposite, they are dramatically unpleasant.

The Gemara tells us: If someone is accustomed to anger, his life isn’t a life, and he is never happy (Pesachim 113b). Why is this? Because powerful emotions are like a gas that spreads until it fills whatever container it is in. When a person is enraged, his entire conciseness is consumed. He can’t think about other things. He can’t concentrate on other ideas. The flames of anger occupy his entire mind.

And he suffers. He suffers with an incurable, burning pain that wells up with in him, steals his attention and eclipses all other sensations. And so he can’t enjoy the food he eats. He can’t appreciate music or poetry. All his wealth and possessions are for naught because he can’t find the peace of mind to enjoy them. He has ruined his life.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Your Middos Are Killing You”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Terror Attack near Shvut Rachel
Bad Terror Attack Near Shvut Rachel
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-062615

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Perhaps on a deeper level, the mitzvah of parah adumah at this junction was not just to purify the body, but the spirit as well.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Halacha isn’t random; it’s a mechanism guiding individuals and society to a higher ethical plateau.

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Less clear, however, is whether the concept applies to the area of civil law such as the law of transfer of property.

The greatest of men, Moshe, had to wait for Hashem to sprinkle purifying waters on Bnei Yisrael to mark the conclusion of the period of death.

My Plate, My Food
‘My Loaf Is Forbidden To You’
(Nedarim 34b)

Of Chukkim “Satan and the nations of the world made fun.” They may appear irrational & superstitious

I realized from this story that I was sent as a messenger from above. Hashem has many helpers in this world to help do his work.

Tosafos answers that nevertheless the sprinkling is a part of his taharah process.

“What difference does that make?” replied Shraga. “What counts is the agreement that we made. I said two hundred fifty and you accepted.”

Zaidie’s legacy of smiles and loving words was all but buried with him, now the family fights over $

Israel’s complaining frustrated Moshe, making it increasingly hard for him to lead effectively

Dovid’s musical Torah teachings were designed to penetrate the soul and the emotions.

It occurred to me, as my brain rattled in my skull on a two-hundred mile ride through rural Virginia, that our souls work in much the same way.

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
Shmuz-logo-NEW

We are affected by our environment. Our perspective on the world is affected by what those around us do.

Shmuz-logo-NEW

It is the right amount of the right middah in the right time that is the key to perfection. Each middah has its place, time, and correct measure.

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall reprove your fellow and do not bear a sin because of him.” – Vayikra 19:17   When the Torah mentions the obligation to rebuke a fellow Jew, it ends with the words “and do not carry a sin because of him.” The Targum translates […]

The answer to this question is based on one of the greatest shortcomings of man – self-limiting beliefs.

When Chazal call not eating treif food a chok, that refers to how it functions.

And the farmer can’t help but feel a sense of pride. After all, it was his wisdom that led him to choose corn, not like that fool of a guy next door who planted wheat.

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

If my garment is clean, then I will be careful about maintaining its beauty. If it is soiled, I will not be as careful.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/your-middos-are-killing-you/2013/01/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: