Around the Shabbos Table – The Trouble With Anger – Matos

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HaShem instructed  Samuel the Prophet to appoint Eliyav as king.  However, before  Samuel informed Eliyav of  his appointment,  Eliyav spoke with anger to his brother, David.  Subsequently HaShem informed Samuel that the anger of Eliyav disqualified him from the kingship.

What’s more, Eliyav did not have a temperamental personality.  Rather, this display of anger by Eliyav was the first time in his life that he fell to anger.  Nevertheless, anger is so completely unacceptable that one sole incident of anger made him ineligible to serve as king.

In light of this, the Talmud (65b) states: “When a person becomes angry – if he is wise, his wisdom will depart; and if he is a prophet, his prophecy will leave him.” The sages cite Moses as the classic example of a wise man becoming angry – and temporally losing his wisdom.

The incident of Moses’ anger occurred after the war with Midian. Moses expressed anger at the commanders because he felt that had not taken appropriate actions. As a result of his anger, Moses then forgot the laws of koshering utensils.

Moses, our Teacher, was the Father of all the Prophets. He was so pure that he ascended to Heaven for forty days, with neither bread nor water, in order to receive the Torah from HaShem. Nevertheless, he grew angry and momentarily lost his great wisdom!

Moses, was the holiest Jew that ever lived, nevertheless he was susceptible to anger. What’s more his anger caused his wisdom to diminish. That being the case, we, who do not possess the refined character traits of Moses, must take every precaution not to fall to anger.

Conversely, if we remember not to fall to anger, then we will retain our wisdom. By reflecting that HaShem does not tolerate anger, as per Eliyav, and that anger causes a loss of wisdom, as per Moses, we will motivated to avoid anger, under all circumstances. As a result of staying patient, centered, and calm, we will find favor in the eyes of HaShem and man.

Today: Avoid speaking with angry tones.



  1. Anger is totally unacceptable conduct.
  2. Even if a person becomes angry one time, he might lose favor in the      eyes of HaShem.
  3. Anger causes a person to lose their wisdom.
  4. Mastery of anger is a protection for wisdom.

Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller and the Salant Foundation


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