7 Cheshvan 5781 / Sunday, October 25, 2020 | Torah Reading: Lech Lecha
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The Power of a Word    

The Power of a Word

Although London was considerably safer for Jews than most parts of Europe, life during the "Blitz" wasn't easy. Every night the air raid sirens would wail...


During the month of Av, we mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples. Because the Second Temple was destroyed due to "causeless hatred," it is customary to make an especial effort during this month to "guard our tongues" from speaking ill of others. But watching our speech should not be limited to just one month of the year, since its benefits can literally save our lives, as the following story demonstrates.
Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian, one of the great Torah leaders of the previous generation, happened to be in London during World War 2.
Although London was considerably safer for Jews than most parts of Europe, life during the "Blitz" wasn't easy. Every night the air raid sirens would wail, signaling the arrival of the Nazi bombers and their deadly cargo. And every night the citizens of London would get out of their beds and stumble down to the air raid shelters, where they waited until the "All Clear" siren was sounded.
One night Rabbi Lopian made the trek down to the shelter with one of his students. The two found a place in the crowded room and proceeded to make themselves as comfortable as they could. But they had only been sitting in the shelter for a few minutes when the student cried out with alarm.
"Rebbe," the young man said, "someone is speaking ill of another in this place."
"Gevalt," Reb Eliyahu replied, as he quickly stood up. "We must get out of here at once."
The two of them fled the shelter and ran to another one that was nearby. Just a few moments later a bomb fell on the first shelter and many of the people inside were injured.
Libi Astaire is the author of Choose Light! Chassidic Tales for Chanukah, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkos, Passover & ShavuosBreakfast with Rav Zusha and Other Stories to Wake Up Your Soul; and the award-winning Jewish Regency Mystery Series. Visit her website for more information about these and other books.

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