Emotions are a funny thing.

They express your personality. They're the bridge – or the barrier – between people. They're an important internal indicator: When I emote, I know that something matters to me.

But emotions can get away from you. Like when you "fly off the handle" or behave "over the top."

Emotion is your psyche's fire. And, like fire, we need to treat it carefully. Like fire, emotions have great function; but, like fire, we can't let them get out of hand.

Emotion is a huge part of our lives. It touches on our temper, our food impulses, our loves and hates. Emotion even impacts our understanding—unless I'm "emotionally available" to internalize and accept hear your words, I probably won't be able to appreciate their logic (i.e. if I don't like you, your opinion is probably wrong).

Sometimes, it can feel like emotion controls life.

But it doesn't have to. And it shouldn't.

Intellect is the more sedate and controlled side of the human psyche. Logic is cool, calm and somewhat detached.

It's soothing water to help you control your emotional fire.

A man once sat on a subway in NYC, while a mother with three young children sat next to him. The kids were unruly and really got under this fellow's skin. As his anger-quotient rose, the mother noticed his discomfort. Apologizing for her children's behavior, she explained that they were on the way home from the hospital. The children's father had just passed away and they were a bit overwhelmed with the confusion in their lives.

This subway traveler was totally transformed. Ashamed of his snap to judgment, his anger was immediately replaced by empathy and concern.

Why? What made his anger disappear? What changed?

His perspective. With new information, with a new understanding, he revised his mental framing of the situation, and his emotions immediately followed suit.

Too often we feel that our emotions "run away with us." They don't have to.

The Torah is G‑d's "manufacturer's manual" for the world, including the human psyche. Torah thought lays out a sketch of the way we work, and it tells us that we can harness our emotions.

Much of Torah life, the mitzvot and their mindset, relates to this goal of corralling human nature and bringing it into line with a purposeful life. Each mitzvah is its own exercise, bringing us closer to our better selves.

This lesson is especially appropriate for this period on the Jewish calendar. In Jewish tradition, the seven week span connecting the Festivals of Passover and Shavuot is known as the Omer; it's the time between the Jews' exodus from Egypt and their receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.

These seven weeks were more than a desert trek; it was a monumental spiritual journey. The Omer period was an important psycho/spiritual evolutionary period for the newly-freed slaves, as they took their historical place in receiving the Torah and its values.

Every year, as we count the Omer's seven weeks, we re-experience spiritual odyssey; on each of its 49 days we focus on developing a different element of our personality. It's like the 49-step program (7 days x 7 weeks) to recovery from impulsive and reactive living.

Check out the program.

It works.