An excellent example is the statement by Rabbi Ila'i: “By three things may a person's character be determined: By his cup, by his purse and by his anger” (Eruvin 65). This is a fairly simple statement to understand.
-People reveal their true inner character in how they behave when they drink. As we all know, there are happy drunks, angry drunks and foolish drunks.
-“By his pocket” infers that one can gain great insight into a person’s nature by observing whether they are generous or stingy, and, by extension, whether they are honest in their business dealings.
-The third qualification is anger. The ability to control one’s anger is one of the most difficult, and one of the most important, character traits a person can develop.
This list might seem to be an interesting psychological study, until one compares it to another Talmudic list: “Three [types of people] the Holy One, blessed be He, loves: he who does not display temper, he who does not become intoxicated, and he who does not insist on his [full] rights” (Pesachim 113b).
While the parallel might not be exact, the comparison of these two lists provides a powerful reminder that our relationship with the Divine is often a reflection of the ways we interact with our fellow human beings.
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The Final Analysis