Saturday, April 27, 2013

48 Ways: #22 - A long temper


Pirkei Avot 6:5 teaches that Torah is acquired in 48 ways, which it lists for us. The twenty-second of the 48 is erech apayim - having a long temper.

There are many evident advantages to patience, personally and in society and in one's learning. Regarding this last category, on a very practical level, one who has a fiery temper is more apt to be distracted from his studies by personal issues and will have a harder time finding good mentoring and chavruta relationships.

Rabbeinu Bechayye notes an additional problem, though: We are taught that anger causes a person to forget his learning; see Rashi to Bamidbar 31:21, for example, stating that Moshe's moments of rage caused him to forget that which he knew. This may be explained naturally; in the learning stage our anger and stress deny us the focus needed to develop memories, and in the recall stage these same phenomena turn our mind away from tracking down those connections, and can also cause us to lose patience with the whole process of learning.

Have a great day,

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