לאז נישט דעם רוגז אבערנאכטיקן ביי דיר
Loz nisht dem rogez ibernechtiken bei dir
Don’t let your anger stay overnight with you.
This saying reflects an old teaching in Judaism. In Tehillim/Psalms and Mishle/Proverbs there are many sayings warning against the dangers of anger. Rabbinic teachings follow suit: One must not persist in a quarrel (Sanhedrin 110a). The traditional Siddur (prayerbook) lists “making peace between one person and another” as a mitzvah (good deed) whose fruit one enjoys both in this world and the next (Hasidic prayerbooks add, “and between a man and his wife!”).
Traditional siddurs also include a prayer before sleep where one forgives anyone who may have hurt one. The prayer is admirable in its thoroughness, stating, “I hereby forgive anyone who has angered or irritated me, or who has offended me, whether they injured me my body, my finances, my honour or my property, and whether they did so under duress or willingly, inadvertently or deliberately, whether with full consciousness or whimsically, whether in word and deed…” The prayer than continues with a clause that surprises many Jews: “…whether in this lifetime or in another incarnation (Reincarnation has in fact been accepted as part of Orthodox Jewish theology for almost four centuries)…and then concludes, “…any person, and may no one be punished on my account.” The prayer really covers all the basis.
We can learn from this tradition. It would be a good thing to take this saying literally and close our accounts at the end of every day. It would be even better to take its intent to heart and forgive those we jostle and bump against in this life as soon as have the heart to, for the sake of peace both internal and external.