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6 Jewish Ways to Respond to Anger

6 Jewish Ways to Respond to Anger

Practical tools for anger management.

by

1. Realize you’re not in control.

Realize you’re not in control

Our sages refer to anger as idolatry (Maimonides - Laws of Behavior 2:2). When you think you’re Master of the Universe and things inexplicably don’t bend to your will, you explode. “This is my lane buddy, get out of my way!”

You’re not God. Be humble and realize you’re not in control.

2. Give yourself a time out.

Give yourself a time out

When we’re angry, we are not rational. We say things we don’t mean to say. And we are capable of doing terrible things that we normally would never consider doing. That’s why the Talmud tells us not to discipline our kids when angry; we’re not being objective and at that moment any action is not for the sake of the child (Talmud - Moed Katan 17a).

So remove yourself from the situation, count to 10, breathe deeply, cool off and get a grip. It’s okay to go to bed angry.

3. Release your anger: write a letter.

Release your anger: write a letter

Keeping your anger all bottled up creates stress and an internal pressure cooker that at some point will erupt, releasing itself in a negative way. You can get if off your chest by writing an uncensored letter to the person you’re angry at. Express how you really feel; don’t hold back. Then rip up the letter. This is for your eyes only.

4. Use anger as your teacher.

Use anger as your teacher

What’s really making you angry? What does it trigger inside of you? What message are you taking from this hurt? Anger is often a result of deeper frustrations, and based on a distorted view of the situation. Figure out what is triggering your anger and evaluate objectively if you’re reading the situation right.

5. Forgive.

forgive

Forgiveness does not mean condoning or justifying any misdeeds. It means seeing the person who hurt you as a hurt person. It’s giving up your desire for revenge. It's untying the knots that keep you emotionally entwined and prevent you from healing.

6. Everything God does is for the good.

Everything God does is for the good

One of Rabbi Akiva’s maxims is "All that the Merciful One does, He does for good" (Talmud - Brachot 60b). Everything God does is out of love; it’s for our good. We may not be able to see the big picture right now, especially in the midst of anger, but stop and ask yourself: “Why do I need this right now? How is this for my ultimate good?” The answer may surprise you.

With thanks to Yvette Miller

Published: February 1, 2014


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Visitor Comments: 16

(8) Carol, February 10, 2014 5:17 PM

Over Reacting Daughter

Our very professionally and financially succesful daughter, living about 110 miles from our home, had never once been come to visit us 17 years despite many, many invitations. Thus I was very pleased and garateful that she did show up the day after her father died. Her then current Boy Friend was not familiar with our area so she filled him in with names of restaurants, sight seeing venues etc. making it very clear that she had probably been close to our residence many times over that 17 years and never evn stopped by.

As I was putting out food and refreshments for the guests she commented, Öh, these are all daddy's favorite foods." I couldn't resist, as my grandmother would have said, she pulled my tongue. "Well, I said, " Ïts too bad you never came to eat them here when daddy was alive."
My daughter stood up, threw over the chair she'd been sitting on, shouted Ï'm outta here!"and ran out the front door.
It will be 10 years on July 16th since I've seen or even heard a single word from my now 63 year old daughter.
Do I have a right to be angry? What does The Talmud say? Let's just say I'm so very sad, painfully disappointed, but I've become resigned to the loss of my child,

Sharona, February 11, 2014 8:18 AM

Do you want to STAY angry?

Carol - this is a very sad part of your life. It makes no difference if you have the right to be angry or not. It's your choice to live with anger and resentment, or to let it go. It doesn't mean that your daughter was right or justified. She was wrong. But you will ge the only one who suffers when you are angry. There are ways to let go of anger and let ourselves have peace of mind, even when others have done us wrong. I wish you good health and many blessings.

Anonymous, February 11, 2014 3:28 PM

Am going thru more or less the same thing;WHY??

Am trying to put these hurtful words behind me,but every morning I awake with heart ache. The only way I think that I can do this Is: EXTRRICATE myself...and comfort myself with the fact that i have been a good person, a good wife , a good mother, ann
D a goog friend!

Beverly Kurtin, February 12, 2014 6:22 AM

You are hurting yourself

My youngest son has refused to talk with me for several years. That is HIS loss, not mine. My other children amd I talk often, but he insists on playing his game.
I love him, but I have tried to reconcile but he wants to keep whatever he has against me going.
I REFUSE to let his anger affect me. Hashem is the only one who can change his mind.
Please don't let your daughter control your life. She feels like the bad daughter she is and doesn't WANT to face her guilt.
Please leave it in Hashes hands.
Love...Bev

Anonymous, June 20, 2014 9:30 PM

The Angry Daughter, who did not attend her father's funeral.

Anger does not appear out of nowhere. As a family therapist for over 3 decades, I suspect the daughter remembers great pain received from her Dad. One can only guess what may have gone on, but I respect the daughter's decision to act as she did.

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