Two Keys To Overcoming Anger

2699The Rebbe told his followers how he had worked on overcoming his negative traits. When he was young he had a hot temper, and became angry at the “slightest provocation.”

But he yearned to be a good and kind person, as God also desires each of us to be.

“So the Rebbe began working on his temper, until he overcame it completely. He rejected anger completely, pushing himself to the opposite extreme. In the place of anger, he had absolute patience and tolerance.

“The Rebbe thus reached a stage where nothing bothered him at all. He was so serene that nothing at all could annoy him.”

No matter how someone provoked him or how much negativity they threw at him, he had developed himself so much that he could tolerate it all without any hatred whatsoever.

“He would love his opponents, not bearing any ill feelings toward them at all.”

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov was renowned for his holy calmness, which was part and parcel of his great humility.

Humility is the first key to overcoming anger.

Humility is not low self-esteem. Humility does not preclude recognizing your good points (in fact, a truly humble person must have balanced self-awareness.)

A person with humility is one who recognizes that everything she has and everything she achieves is sourced in the Creator and Sustainer. She isn’t angry when things don’t go her way. She doesn’t blame others for the challenges she faces, even when it seems like they are “out to get her”, because she knows that everything, even problems, come from God.

She knows that the God can be found in even the most unlikely, troublesome, places.

This leads to the next key to overcoming anger: Emuna. Faith. 

When you have emuna you understand that everything comes from God, even the annoying, scary, or painful situation you presently find yourself in. And not only does it come from God, but God has given you this challenge, obstacle, or problem because it will help you grow spiritually—it is a gift of the deepest love.

Anger is a house of cards that can’t remain standing in the face of genuine humility and deep emuna.

It’s one thing to read these words—and another to live them. The teachings of Rebbe Nachman must be learned and reviewed and prayed and meditated about if we want change. And it takes time.

Reading about the Rebbe’s life is also a lifelong lesson. The Rebbe is a guide to pnimiyus, the inner dimension of Torah, soul, and life.

*This post quotes from and is based on an excerpt from Shevachey HaRan, published in translation by Aryeh Kaplan and Breslov Research Institute, titled Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom.




2 Responses

  1. “It’s one thing to read these words—and another to live them. The teachings of Rebbe Nachman must be learned and reviewed and prayed and meditated about if we want change. And it takes time.” Discipline, study and emuna. I particularly enjoyed this posting because this is one of my challenges. It has inspired me to pull my copy of “Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom” off of the shelf, and into my hands and heart, where I can learn more. Thank you! Sandra

    1. Thank you Sandra, for sharing. It is so exciting to hear you’re reading Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom again. It is so rich, we can read it over and over again and make discoveries every time.

      Anger is a very common challenge today. Many people have anger but don’t even realize it. Sometime’s that’s because anger can take many forms such as biting/sarcastic remarks, gossip and slander, and other actions that weren’t always considered socially acceptable in either the general or Jewish culture, but are commonly accepted today. (Think of TV talk shows, for example).

      Anger and fear are often conjoined twins–it can be hard to know where one begins and ends.

      Fortunately, the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov can help us plumb our own depths, shine a torch on the positive attributes, and allow painful ones, such as anger, fear, hatred, and so on, to quietly crumble away.

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