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Shabbat Parashat Sukkot 5781

Ein Ayah: Belief in Hashem Warding Off Fury

(based on Ein Ayah, Shabbat 13:1)

Gemara: He who rips his garments in his fury, breaks his utensils, or throws away his money in his fury should be in your eyes like one who worship idols. For this is the craft of the evil inclination: Today he tells the person: “Do this!” The next day he tells him: “Do that!” [This continues] until he tells him: “Worship idols!” and he goes and worships them.


Ein Ayah: As long as the pure sanctity of accepting the yoke of Hashem’s kingdom is not severed from a person’s soul, his spirit receives stability and confirmation. All the things in the world that are against what a person desires, whether things that already happened or things that are in the course of happening, do not need to upset a person to the depths of his spirit to the point that he cannot maintain control over the actions he takes. The reason is that he knows that in the final analysis, Hashem is good to all of His creations, and that everything that transpires is an “agent” of Divine Providence in the world. Thus, they all serve a positive role as matters ultimately play out.

When a person contemplates Hashem’s role in a positive manner, his temper in the face of upsetting events is alleviated. Ripping one’s garments usually occurs when one is incensed about something that occurred in the past. This is in line with proper ripping of clothes [which is done by a mourner after his relative dies (i.e., in the past)].

The following is the reason that getting furious is considered like worshipping an idol. The beginning of extreme anger comes from a total divorce between the person and his positive feeling that Hashem is bestowing good upon him. When the fury is so bad that it breaks forth beyond the normal bounds of measured thought and action, it infiltrates his being like venom. This feeling sets a nest within him until horrible enmity breaks forth from within the troubled spirit. Since it has the potential of affecting any part of the person’s interactions in his life, it is thus capable of bringing him even to idol worship, which is nurtured from the foundation of anger at the heart of his warped view of the world around him.

Even though the beginning of this problematic behavior of wild tantrums is a matter of surprise, which is not within the realms of reasoned judgment, the continual destruction that follows is like a “craft” of the evil inclination, in that it sets a bad mode of behavior. The person loses all connection to norms of holy behavior. As such, if his negative spirit leads him to the extreme, in the direction of idol worship, he will not be able to oppose this tendency.

One who rips his clothes is reacting improperly to the past; one who breaks his utensils is misguided regarding the present; and one who throws away his money is reacting to a feeling that he is not ready to deal with a future that goes against his desire. In each case, he falls under the dominion of the evil inclination, which begins to control his actions, [with each day bringing another unfortunate course of action] until he follows the evil inclination’s urging to commit idol worship.

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