17 Cheshvan 5782 / Saturday, October 23, 2021 | Torah Reading: Vayeira
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Don’t Skimp on Words    

Don’t Skimp on Words

The reward for encouraging words is greater than for giving charity, and “charity saves from death”! So too the punishment for skimping on them…


Watch this short clip from Rabbi Arush:





A Rare Glimpse 


We have many letters that Rebbe Nachman wrote to his married  daughters  many generations ago. These letters are brimming with warmth, caring and concern without end, coming from a compassionate father who loves his children with all his heart 


“Best regards to my beloved son in law, my friend, the illustrious and esteemed rabbi,  who is crowned with a good name, our teacher Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac his flame should shine, with peace to his precious spouse, my beloved daughter, close to my heart, the modest, wise, and praiseworthy, the upright Mrs. Sarah, may she live and be well… 


Please keep me informed of how you are doing, I wish very much for my daughter and my son in law that you should live without any worries at all, and you should be always happy, with peace and good life to your heart’s desire. Your father wants so much to know how you are doing with great love.” 


“Shalom to my beloved daughter, the modest and wise Mrs Sarah, she should live and be well… please do as I have told you, to not pay too much attention to the all the house work, and eat meat and drink wine, because your health is more precious to me than my life, and you literally give me life when you let me know that you are healthy and strong...” 


And he begged his son-in-law: Please look out for my daughters health, for her soul is tied to my soul..” 


Pay close attention to the way a great Tzaddik and public figure  like  Rebbe  Nachman  did not limit his words when he contacted his daughters, even though they were already married adults. He reveals in his letters a personal bond which is warm and loving.  


These letters give us a rare glimpse into the personal life of Rebbe Nachman, how he led his home and the nature of the bond between him and his daughters. Even more than this, they teach us how we need to conduct ourselves with our own children.  


You Can’t Possibly Over-Exaggerate 


I always say that the worst trait a husband can have is stinginess. Stinginess is not only with money... it can also be with warmth and love, being there for others, and even refusing to smile at others. The Gemara says that the reward for warm words which encourage a poor person is much greater than the reward for the charity itself. From here we also learn that also the punishment for being stingy with warm words is also much greater! 


Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach says in the name of the Maharal that to be a miser is to be the most opposite of Hashem that is possible. Hashem is all giving – He only gives and gives - whereas a miser only takes.  


The Torah teaches us to walk in the ways of Hashem and to be like Him. Just as Hashem illuminates the entire world and gives everyone life, energy, and vitality, so too we have to be a source of light in the home, a source of warmth, and to put all our energy into giving our children to invigorate our children. 


As an aside, this is also true regarding our spouses. Don’t settle for a cease-fire or the silent treatment. Creating a real connection with our spouse and believing in our marriage is something fluid which requires constant strengthening. At every opportunity each spouse must compliment and strengthen the other. I’ve heard many complaints from spouses in my years of counseling couples, but I’ve never heard of even one wife complaining that her husband flatters her too much… 


You have a mouth. It is an astounding tool that Hashem gave us in order to learn Torah, pray, make blessings, and say thank you. This tool has the capacity to do so much kindness, and kindness begins in the home. Don’t be stingy with words. Every opportunity you have, “Let it rip! Shower your spouse and children with support, compliments and praises. Smile! When you smile, your children understand that the world is a nice place and that it's good to be alive. When you are sad or grumpy, your children understand that the world is a gloomy place and that there is no taste to life.  


Education and Light 


The holiday of Chanukah comes from the same root as education – chanech. It’s no coincidence that Chanukah is also associated with light, which means that so is education. Put light in, and the darkness goes away on its own! 


Just like the lights of Chanukah are holy – so too every moment that we spend putting light into our children. Just as one small candle can overpower all the darkness outside, so too, by lighting up your child with a hug, a good word, or an encouraging smile and some time together. You become like the High Priest who lights the Menorah – adding flame to the fire until your children burn with love for Hashem and His Torah on their own. 


There were many obstacles in the story of Chanukah. So too, you might see obstacles in your child such as negative character traits or other problems. Remember that just as the few righteous can overcome the many evil, so too by emphasizing and focusing only on the good, you can enable your child to overcome all the bad inside.  


This advice is especially important now, while everyone is at home together much more than normal. Our moods and words create a “snowball effect” which feeds off itself, either uplifting the mood in the home or the opposite G-d forbid. With all the anxiety about what the future holds and the constantly changing situation, positivity and encouragement must be constantly put into the home in order to consistently uplift the atmosphere in the home, and those who live in it.  


To be continued...


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