In Anger, Remember the Love

Thursday, 22 September, 2022 - 2:38 pm

This week at morning minyan we were joined by Rabbi Rafi Zarum, who was in town for a speaking engagement. Since he is saying Kaddish for his late father, he led the morning service. There are some differences in the prayers between our Siddur and the one that he generally uses. Upon completing the service using our Siddur, he pointed out with interest, some of the differences, including one that appears at the end of Tachanun (prayers of penitence). The passage in Nusach Ashkenaz reads as follows, “In anger, remember compassion.” The passage in Nusach Sfard reads as follows, “In anger, remember compassion. In anger, remember the Akedah. In anger remember the Uprightness (of Jacob).”  

The passage in the Chabad Siddur adds one more phrase, “In anger, remember compassion. In anger, remember the Akedah. In anger, remember the uprightness (of Jacob). In anger, remember the love.”  

Of course, there are multiple layers of interpretation of each of these phrases. But the straightforward reading of the last one is, that we ask G-d to remember His love for us and our love for Him, when we are doing things that can “anger” Him. As we prepare for the High Holidays, let us reflect on this when it comes to our relationship with Hashem.

To paraphrase the Zohar, “Just as it is above, so must it be below.” We must seek to implement this approach into our personal lives as well. We each have relationships. There are people that we love and who love us. At times our loved ones can annoy us or even anger us. When that happens, it is crucial that we keep this principle on the forefront of our perspectives, “In anger, remember the love.”  

If, in the moment of anger, we remember the love, this can let the air out of our exasperation, thereby significantly and swiftly diminishing our anger. This approach can have far-reaching ramifications. There is so much hurt that is caused between loving spouses, parents-children, siblings, and friends, because in the moment of anger we are just angry. But if we “remember the love” and that diminishes our anger, the other party (spouse, child, sibling, friend) will sense that difference and be uplifted to feel that love. They may even be motivated to change the way they are acting, which is the cause of the anger to begin with.

May you be inscribed and sealed for a healthy, sweet, prosperous, and meaningful new year of 5783.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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