22 Av 5780 / Wednesday, August 12, 2020 | Torah Reading: Re'eh
 
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Mighty Mouth



Once we express negativity in any form, we give it power to destroy. Part of our mission is to undo this tendency to jump to conclusions and suspect the worse…

 



The expression “The tongue is mightier than the sword” instructs us to evaluate our words before we say them. A cutting remark or insult can cause an emotional and/or spiritual wound that can be difficult to heal.

 

Rav Brody has warned us that the negative energy of forbidden speech has the power to manifest as a physical injury anywhere in the world because energy travels. Words have the potential to hurt or to heal, depending upon how they are used. The Mishna reminds us that when we judge others unfavorably, these opinions are used by the Heavenly Court to judge us. We sentence ourselves when we speak negatively of others, Heaven forbid.

 

It is life-changing to realize that we have the power to conclude a seemingly not-so-good event with something very good just by saying the words Gam Zu L’Tova – "this too is for the good” or “Hashem does everything for the best.” If we should ever call an event or situation a “problem”, then we have decreed that it will be just that. By thinking, believing, and stating that an event is “for the best” we become worthy to witness that it truly is. Problems arise when we use our mouths before we see the facts clearly with our eyes. Our job is to first try to see all the facts clearly to prevent judging negatively with our mouths.

 

Once we express negativity in any form, we give it power to destroy. Part of our mission on this planet is to undo this tendency to jump to conclusions, suspect the worse, or fail to give the benefit of the doubt. G-d gives us wake-up calls to warn us to use our eyes to look deeper into a situation and not focus on the lack. We have two eyes and two ears and only one mouth for a reason: To utilize self-control to see and to listen before we speak.

 

The spoken word can save or destroy the world. King David in Psalm 39:2 said, “I would guard my ways from sinning with my tongue; I would guard my mouth with a muzzle." Rav Arush reminds us to “guard our tongue from evil and our lips from speaking deceit” (Psalm 34:13).

 

When we surround ourselves with words of Torah, blessings, and tefila (prayer), it is like building for ourselves a safety net—an ark---because holy words protect us while evil speech brings destruction. Likewise, Rav Brody explains that Jonah saved the city of Nineveh from being destroyed---from suffering the same fate as Sodom--- simply because of five words of warning that he uttered to the King. The people were smart, did teshuva (repented), and were saved.

 

Rav Arush emphasizes that evil speech (slander) is worse than promiscuity, bloodshed, and idol worship combined. He said, “If you gather all the evil-tongue transgressions in all of history, it won’t equal one day of today's slander in social media.” How frightening is that!! Hashem created our mouths to sanctify His Name through expressions of praise and gratitude. Rav Arush also reminds us that “The tongue can either be the gateway to salvation, or the gateway to tribulations.” The mouth, like atomic power, can illuminate the world or destroy it, Heaven forbid. Let's use it for the good.





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