Rav Avigdor Miller on the Angry Rabbi

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Q:
The גמרא  says that when a תלמיד חכם  gets angry, that it’s not really him getting angry, it’s just the  תורה inside him, that’s boiling up (Ta’anis 4a). What is that supposed to mean?

A:
A  תלמיד חכם that becomes angry, and he boils up, it’s the תורה  that’s making him angry. You have to understand that. Sometimes, a person is justified in getting excited. When he sees an עולה, something wrong, something not decent, something against the דבר ה׳, against the שולחן ערוך, then he becomes angry. And there, he is justified. Because it is the  תורה that is boiling within him. He has the ideals of the תורה within him. The ideals of the תורה actually mean something to a תלמיד חכם. Now, when you learn תורה, you know that everything has to be exactly right. So when a תלמיד חכם  sees people doing something wrong, it boils up in him. That’s the תורה  boiling up in him. He has internalized the תורה  ideals and he believes in them.

And therefore, when you see that happen, you have to accept him. You have to be מלמד     זכות  and say that it is the אורייתא  that is רתח ביה. You know, that when an עם הארץ  sees the same thing, he doesn’t get excited at all. At all! And that’s because the תורה  ideals mean almost nothing to him. He might know that it’s wrong, but it doesn’t really bother him. When the neighbor does something wrong to him – he walked on his lawn or he blocked his driveway – that’s when the עם הארץ  stands up for what’s right. Then he gets excited. Because it means something to him. His lawn means something to him. But for the דבר ה׳, no, nothing. It doesn’t bother him at all.

However; the גמרא  adds, that nevertheless, a person should teach himself בניחותא. He should train himself to be gentle. The Gemara says that. That even a תלמיד חכם  who is boiling up because the תורה  is in him – it has become part of who he is – nevertheless, he should teach himself to speak gently, because דברי חכמים בנחת נשמעין.

So once more. Idealists should become angry when they see that their ideals are not being observed. When they see that the truth is being trampled on. But nevertheless, even the great אוהבי ה׳   and אוהבי תורה  should learn the art of being gentle and diplomatic. And that way, they will be able to carry out what has to be done, with even more success.

                                                              TAPE # E-177