Isn't it ironic that the word Tevet is related to the Hebrew word for Good, Tov? It brings to mind the Hebrew saying, "This too is for the good." The keyword in this saying is too. Frequently, we are quick to judge something as good if the immediate outcome is something that brings us joy. How often do we see the good when something unfortunate happens that then leads to something even better? This saying, though at times the last thing we want to hear when we are in a hard spot, is also a reminder of our place in this world and our inability to comprehend the Divine workings of it all. Who are we to understand if something is good or bad in the greater story of the Universe? Who are we to judge the game of cosmic dominos of which we are all a part?
The sense of this month is anger. In Pirkei Avot, we read, "slowness to anger is better than a mighty person..." According to the Rambam, "Someone who gets angry is like one who worships idols." Wow, right?! Why is it that anger is seen as such a destructive emotion and that it is compared to worshiping idols? Perhaps it is implying that just as an idol separates us from the oneness of creation so too can our anger separate us from others. One of the goals of Judaism is to see that in every single thing there is a spark of G!d. When we feel angry, that spark goes out and we may do or say things that we regret. How can we feel our anger without letting it separate us from one another? I think, first and foremost, it could help us to be with our anger instead of act with our anger. Perhaps by just doing that some of the fumes might settle creating space for understanding, empathy and kindness.