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N16. Nursing Anger Toward Our Neighbor.    [Make a Comment]

We are not to hold onto anger toward our neighbor.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed be He):

Key Scriptures

Leviticus 19:17
Do not hate your brother in your heart, but rebuke your neighbor frankly, so that you wont carry sin because of him.'

Leviticus 19:18 (Maimonides RP206-RP207, RN304-RN305; Meir MP60-MP61, MN80-81; Chinuch C241-C243, C431)
Don't take vengeance on or bear a grudge against any of your people; rather, love your neighbor as yourself; I am ADONAI.

Psalm 4:4(3)-5(4)
You can be angry, but do not sin! Think about this as you lie in bed, and calm down.

Proverbs 19:11(10)
People with good sense are slow to anger, and it is their glory to overlook an offense.

Matthew 5:22
But I tell you that anyone who nurses anger against his brother will be subject to judgment; that whoever calls his brother, 'You good-for-nothing!' will be brought before the Sanhedrin; that whoever says, 'Fool!' incurs the penalty of burning in the fire of Gei-Hinnom!

Mark 12:28-31
One of the Torah-teachers came up and heard them engaged in this discussion. Seeing that Yeshua answered them well, he asked him, "Which is the most important mitzvah of them all?" Yeshua answered, "The most important is, 'Sh'ma Yisra'el, ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad [Hear, O Isra'el, the LORD our God, the LORD is one], and you are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your understanding and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You are to love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other mitzvah greater than these."

Luke 10:25-28
An expert in Torah stood up to try and trap him by asking, "Rabbi, what should I do to obtain eternal life?" But Yeshua said to him, "What is written in the Torah? How do you read it?" He answered, "You are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your understanding; and your neighbor as yourself." "That's the right answer," Yeshua said. "Do this, and you will have life."

Ephesians 4:26-27
Be angry, but don't sin - don't let the sun go down before you have dealt with the cause of your anger; otherwise you leave room for the Adversary.

Supportive Scriptures

Psalm 37:8-9
Stop being angry, put aside rage, and don't be upset - it leads to evil. For evildoers will be cut off, but those hoping in ADONAI will inherit the land.

Proverbs 14:17
He who is quick-tempered does stupid things, and one who does vile things is hated.

Proverbs 14:29
Being slow to anger goes with great understanding, being quick-tempered makes folly still worse.

Proverbs 15:1
A gentle response deflects fury, but a harsh word makes tempers rise.

Proverbs 15:18
Hot-tempered people stir up strife, but patient people quiet quarrels.

Proverbs 16:32
He who controls his temper is better than a war hero, he who rules his spirit better than he who captures a city.

Proverbs 22:24
Don't associate with an angry man; make no hot-tempered man your companion.

Proverbs 29:11
A fool gives vent to all his feelings, but the wise, thinking of afterwards, stills them.

Proverbs 29:22
Angry people stir up strife; hot-tempered people commit many crimes.

Ecclesiastes 7:9
Don't be quick to get angry, for [only] fools nurse anger.

Galatians 5:19-20
And it is perfectly evident what the old nature does. It expresses itself in sexual immorality, impurity and indecency; involvement with the occult and with drugs; in feuding, fighting, becoming jealous and getting angry; in selfish ambition, factionalism, intrigue ...

Colossians 3:8
... but now, put them all away - anger, exasperation, meanness, slander and obscene talk.

James 1:19-20
Therefore, my dear brothers, let every person be quick to listen but slow to speak, slow to get angry; for a person's anger does not accomplish God's righteousness!


Psalm 4:4(3) says: "You can be angry, but do not sin!", and similarly, Ephesians 4:26 says: "Be angry, but don't sin." Clearly, anger itself is not sinful, but what we do as a result of our anger often is, and that is why there are so many Scriptures that warn us against anger. Notice that both of the Scriptures above command us to not sin as a result of our anger - a comforting reminder that we can control our anger, and not sin on account of it.

Anger can be directed toward a circumstance or even against our self, but this Mitzvah has to do with anger directed against a person (our neighbor), that we allow to persist. That, Matthew 5:22 says is sin, and Ephesians 4:26-27 says that we must not let the sun go down on our anger which means that in order to avoid sin, any anger we have toward our neighbor must be short-lived.

Classical Commentators

Leviticus 19:18 cited above is the basis for Maimonides', Meir's and HaChinuch's mitzvot on loving, and on not taking vengeance or bearing a grudge. While they could be related to holding onto anger (the subject of this Mitzvah), holding onto anger is not necessarily involved.


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