The Power of Words - Shemiras HaLashon

November 24, 2016 22:54

I would like to mention 'Shemiras HaLashon'. I will try, uncharacteristically I realise, to keep this brief. There have been numerous personal insults, accusations of anti-Semitism, people seemingly declaiming Rabbis, (though perhaps I got this very wrong?). We appear to be turning discussion of Torah into a public brawl. We are told, always, of the power of words and of their sanctity. Debating and evolving understanding is something we must do. Insulting one another is something we surely must not!

'Death and life are in the power of the tongue;
And they that indulge it shall eat fruit thereof' - Proverbs 18:21

Sephardic understanding, at least in some parts of the world, speaks against the envious, cruel or shadowed eye and the cruel, envious or shadowed tongue. G_d said 'let there be light' and what do you know, light shone in and through everything. We should not cast dark in that light, there is enough of that already in the world without us adding shadow. Before we ask blessing on ourselves we ask blessing on others, before we ask blessing on our children and communities we ask blessing on those of the world. 'Una Boki di bendision' (Ladino) will speak sweetness for paths of milk and honey. This is a tall order and one I rarely attain. I would be more comfortable, however, if we did not slander one another or stoop to personal insult in our debates. If our words are truthful enough they will shine without need of insult, which can only sully our intention and muddy what we try to say.

So, I wish you a joyous Purim and hope we can communicate well in the future, even and especially when our opinions differ.


November 24, 2016 22:54

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive