Rabbi Hagai Lundin
Rabbi Hagai LundinCourtesy

The biblical figure who most represents rage and bitterness is an ancient sorcerer named Bilam. His name suggests that he was cut off from a general national framework (bli am: without a people), and he even refers to himself as "with uncovered eyes", indicating a one-sided view of reality.

Bilam tried to curse Israel out of rage, but was unsuccessful, "how will I censure, when the Lord has not censured?". The word zaam [rage] in Hebrew is close to the word za'um, minuscule, something small and negligible. Rage also focuses on a narrow view, of a specific situation at a very specific time, and misses the overall picture. Our Sages explain his method of action: he would try to aim for the time when God was angry, so that his curse would work. It is written that "God shows His wrath every day", but this rage lasts only for a moment - "for His anger is but a moment", and this was the moment Bilam tried to catch. In other words, Bilam is a character who obsessively and disproportionately intensifies the downside in everything.

Bilam probably posted moving posts about the education system being full of harassers and perverts; that the State of Israel is going to collapse, and how we are oppressed in every direction. Anyone who dares to comment that there also is good in the world immediately raises the wrath of Bilam and is accused of covering up and silencing injustices.

How do you free yourself from the suffocating grip of rage? Just as Bilam was forced to admit to himself, "how goodly are your tents Jacob", simply to look at the good in our "tent": we get up in the morning; our body, for the most part, are functioning; our educational, economic and security systems allow us a standard of living once reserved for kings; we are surrounded by large families who love us; the person walking in front of us on the street is not trying to run us over; and the classroom teacher is trying to help us.

In the midst of all this, there are some medical, security, social and spiritual problems that must be fought with determination and precision. The majority are good. The minority are evil. Stay away from the "Bilams" and "Bilamism"; get closer to Moses our Teacher.