The other day someone cut me off while I was driving, almost causing an accident. I lost my temper, cursed the driver and continued screaming for a while. My wife suggested that I calm down and learn how to control my rage. I argued that while I know that anger is a negative and destructive trait, this time it didn't matter as the subject of my temper could not hear what I was saying. I was just venting to feel better. What do you think?


Losing your temper and cursing the driver who cannot hear is bad for you as a personIn the Book of Leviticus there is a verse (19:14) that states: "You shall not curse a deaf person." Our sages explain that this prohibition is obviously not limited to someone who cannot hear. It is a transgression to get angry, curse or use bad language with anyone. Why then would the Torah single out the deaf?

The great philosopher Maimonides explains that the Torah is teaching us a fundamental lesson in our growth as a human being. Sometimes we mistakenly believe that negative behavior or language is only problematic when it hurts someone else. We think that we have a license to behave as we wish, as long as we keep it to ourselves. One could therefore erroneously believe that cursing a deaf person is not so bad because he/she cannot hear what is being said.

By focusing on the deaf person the Torah corrects this mistake. The purpose and benefit of appropriate behavior is as much for ourselves as it is for others. We have a responsibility not only to help others and protect their dignity, but also to ensure that we refine and develop a sensitive, compassionate and respectful identity for ourselves.

Losing your temper and cursing the driver who cannot hear is bad for you as a person. You will need to explore alternative and effective strategies to control your temper and manage your anger. If you learn to do it in your car, you will be calmer with friends and family as well.

Once again, your wife is right. Drive safely and calmly.