Kinah 7-Part Three-God’s Anger
Transcribed by Michael Beller: This kinah describes our experience of God’s anger as building up and eventually exploding. It continuously says “if you do this I’ll get angry,” but through so many things Hashem doesn’t let out the anger until it seems all this repressed anger explodes out all at once and the first temple is destroyed, cities are destroyed, and it seems we are not just experiencing that moment of anger but instead centuries of anger built up. But Hashem has a way of dealing with this?
The Gemara Avoda Zara says that everyday Hashem has one second of anger so He lets it all out and the anger doesn’t build up. But there was a time where Hashem had to stop his moment of anger, which was with Billam. Because when Billam was cursing the Jews he would wait for Hashem’s moment of anger each day to attempt to outsmart Hashem, so Hashem suppressed his moment of anger that day so as to stop Billam cursing the Jews.
But Hashem is not a man so why does He “need” this moment of anger, and is it really so simple that in this moment of anger Hashem is out of control and Billam can curse the Jews without God stopping him?
It is not that Billam found this perfect moment in which he could curse the Jews, the curse was that Billam got the Jews to focus on Hashem’s anger, and in turn sin and he managed to get the Jews to experience God’s anger which is all he wanted, that was his curse.
When we feel that someone is out of control and can explode at any moment it destroys the relationship, and it destroys all the good experiences in the relationship because people never focus on the good when they are in a fit of rage, this is how Billam cursed us.
Once he established this sense of Hashem being an angry God into our relationship with Hashem he cursed our relationship with God. So when we read this kinah and think of God’s anger as an explosion of repressed rage, that is Billam’s curse.
The idea of the temple was that you did not experience Gods anger, when you did something wrong you dealt with it in the moment and this helps nurture the relationship and keeps us close to God. Because when you are in a relationship where you are always afraid that the other person may explode in anger and you never know when it is going to happen you distance yourself and it destroys the relationship.
We see this right in the beginning of the torah when Adam and Eve eat from the tree. They knew they did something wrong and then they hear the voice of God “walking in the garden, “and instead of going up to God and dealing with the issue right away they run away from God. This was the real sin of the Garden of Eden, not eating from the tree, but instead not taking the opportunity to nurture the relationship by dealing with the issue instead of running away from it.
The temple was a place where we could confront God to deal with any outstanding issues, but we couldn’t do this because we were living under the fear that God was angry at us, so we kept our distance and ran away and in turn created this Billam type anger that never had to be there.