In Parashat Masei, God tells Moshe to instruct Bnai Yisrael about the boundaries for when they enter the Land of Canaan (Numbers 34:1-12) Rav Adda the son of Rabbi Chanina believed that if Bnai Yisrael had not sinned, they would only have received the five books of the Torah and the book of Joshua, since these books contain the records of the boundaries and dimensions of the Land of Israel. Rav Adda the son of Rabbi Chanina claimed that God gave Bnai Yisrael the remainder of the books in the canon of the Tanach, including the Neviim (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings), since the content of these books often included God’s anger at the sins of Bnai Yisrael. (Talmud Bavli, Nedarim 22b)
Bnai Yisrael were fortunate to have been given the Neviim and Ketuvim, as there is much to learn from them. But how could God’s anger have caused something positive?
Dr. Harriet Lerner, author of The Dance of Anger, explains that “Anger is a signal and one worth listening to. Our anger may be a message that we are being hurt, that our rights are being violated, that our needs or wants are not being adequately met, or simply that something is not right.” Dr. Lerner explains that anger, when used appropriately, can actually bring a person closer to someone else.
While it was the sins of Bnai Yisrael that initially caused God’s anger, God explored this anger through the revelations of the prophets. Through the trials and tribulations of the prophets, Bnai Yisrael were able to further examine, challenge, and ultimately strengthen their relationship with God.