daveningצילום: kupat hair

I often wonder why anger is so common and why those with anger rarely change. In addition, why is man naturally defined by ego, finding it so difficult to lower himself?

I believe both of these questions can be answered by examining Breishit.

In terms of anger, G-d created a perfect world (though Rav Soloveitchik zt"l notes that G-d created and destroyed worlds before to create the notion of mistake). In a perfect world only justice exists. Any error merits destruction. We are in G-d's image. Inherent in our personality is perfection and justice and when someone makes what we consider to be an inappropriate comment, we berate them for their lack of perfection. However, G-d also added mercy into this world. And it is based on mercy that we must break our middot and overlook non-perfect comments which grants us the above-nature gift of having our sins forgiven.

In terms of arrogance, borrowing from the above idea, we are in the image of G-d and our soul is coming from up high. We are naturally a glorious being carrying G-dliness. It is for this exact reason that G-d “confers” with the angels when creating us, to show man, that in fact, lowliness is the correct path, as one should know he needs others to reach his full potential and that his own self-importance is subordinate.

This explains why the Rambam says that there are two traits where a person must go in the opposite extreme to fix: anger and arrogance. Because these two traits have inherent G-dly qualities, they are much harder to break. But G-d gave the mandate that they must be broken, even though they exist naturally.

One can be sensitive to these notions with the arrival of Elul. G-d, the Master of the Universe, exalted us in his image, but He also integrated mercy into creation which demands a shattering of our exacting anger which will warrant forgiveness for our existing sins. Also, we must lower ourselves from our natural state of splendor, as G-d Himself, so to speak, conferred with angels to show us our limitations in self, and that we need other people to reach any semblance of growth.