211 Chadwick Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666 

Reflections for the month of Tevet in Teaneck

From a Kabbalistic perspective, the month of Tevet brings us into the very physical nature of our lives and emotions, particularly the emotion of anger. Through our embodiment, we learn to experience the full intensity of our anger in a way that is healthy and neither destroys our relationships or builds walls of separation.

I had an astrology reading for my December birthday.  I am not one who gives a whole lot of weight to astrology, but it sounded like a fun way to celebrate.  Using her charts, the astrologer laid out the various stages of star influences. She reminded me of significant moments of transitions in the past and told me transformative times that are yet to come.

On the outskirts of Minot, North Dakota

Photo taken by Carol Berlin

There was one take away from the reading that stayed with me. She said temper management was not modeled for me properly in my early childhood. I wasn’t taught what to do with my anger and how to experience it in a way that was not destructive.

She went on to say that because of my early experiences I made an internal pact to never lose temper or self-control. This basically meant containing and ignoring what I truly desired – wild, creative play – because it wasn’t safe to want it. Being with this decision and healing it, she concluded, has been a slow process of unlearning.

I thought about the truth of her words. My mind flashed on myself as a teacher of anger within my own family. I’d like to think I would be a much better model of it now with all my years of growth, but as the astrologer said I am still in the process of unlearning.

Early on in my marriage, my husband and I joined a large reform synagogue in Minneapolis. There was a sliding scale for the membership dues and we were placed with the minimum payments. Even with this reduction, at that time in our young lives, we shamefully could not come up with the cash. At some point, we received a letter saying we were no longer welcome at the synagogue.

I began to draft a letter to express the hurt, anger, rejection and shame I felt with this treatment. All I could type was “ Dear Rabbi Pinsky”.  “Dear Rabbi Pinsky” and then I would write this or that. Erase it and start over,  “Dear Rabbi Pinsky”. After many “Dear Rabbi Pinksy” attempts, I finally threw my hands up in the air and said forget it!! “Dear Rabbi Pinsky” went into the pile of shortcut phrases between my husband and myself. “Dear Rabbi Pinsky” = Man Am I Stuck!

Hopes and dreams for my daughter

Photo taken by Carol Berlin

Expressing anger in a straightforward and healthy way has certainly been a “Dear Rabbi Pinsky” experience for me. It has felt safer for me to seethe and boil in resentment, managing the internal chaos by myself,  rather than risk the never-ending rejection for speaking my truth. This month, I intend to honor my anger, to care for it and to step forward and accept the discomfort of conflict, the karma of conflict. Others may react and it may not be favorable or easy, but this is my path of growth. And I choose willingly, with courage and gratitude.

This article was originally published in New Moon Project blog newmoonproject.org/dear-anger/