Disarming Your Emotional Fellow

Some people are highly strung. One word can trigger them. Maybe even one look.

Some are predisposed against certain people or questions.

I asked a person “Are You Jewish?”

They responded “That is an insult!”

I asked “If someone asked you “Are you an Accountant? – would that insult you?”

He responded “Yes.” I guess he wouldn’t like to be an accountant.

(Come to think of it Saying “Being Jewish is an Insult” is an Insult – but I let it slide.)

Some people were hurt in the past. Some have a disposition against you, because they heard something bad against you. So they act with an angry disposition towards you.

Rabbi Yitzi Greenman, a Fund-Raiser for Aish HaTorah tells of a story of a Wealthy individual who had an angry disposition towards Orthodox Jews. He was patient and persistant and eventually turned around that disposition to eventually get the man to give a sizeable donation.

So whose problem is it, if someone is angry at you? If you really hurt the other person – or perhaps you angered them – it would make sense to make amends – if the relationship is worth it. (In cases of marital / couple relationships an Orthodox Rabbi would be proper to consult before returning with a spouse that is abusive)***

But sometimes it’s not you. They had a bad day. They listened to “lashon hara” / evil speech about you or your kind. So it is not your fault. Something is wrong with the other person’s disposition.

The Torah gives the ultimate response to disarm a person –

“A Soft Answer turns away Wrath.” (Shlomo Hamelech / King Solomon in Mishlei / Proverbs 15:1) When someone is angry, the best response is not to stoop to an escalation of anger. The best is to remain in control. A soft answer helps one to both and disarm the angry fellow.


***Also, in cases of Intermarriage – it would be better to just walk away – because of the Torah law – prohibiting it. The Torah tells us (Devarim 7:3-4) “Don’t marry with them – don’t give your daughter to his son, and don’t take his daughter for your son; lest he should turn your son away from Me, and they will worship other gods…”) (The Jewish View of Marriage) (Law on Intermarriage) (Meaning in Mitzvot – Intermarriage) Usually a child of a mixed marriage is confused. They are not sure where they belong. Besides the Torah’s reason, It is unfair to the children that may result from such a union. People who start off on the same wavelength, usually have more successful, happy marriages.

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