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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Elul 20 - Silence - by Leslie Waldbaum

Silence and mindful speech or Shtikah-Shmirot HaLashon are so important to practice.  Hurtful words spoken to someone’s face of behind their back end up hurting both the victim and the speaker.  Written in the form of a letter, text, email, facebook, etc. can be just as hurtful causing the same shame, anger and regret.  Hurtful words can be a form of bullying and have led to teen suicides.  Once spoken or written they cannot be reclaimed.  Words that appear on the internet are there forever.  They can be read again today, tomorrow and next year.  They can be shared with others so easily with today’s technology.

I find that I am practicing this more with my own family.  I am being silent and thinking about what I will say instead of responding quickly - maybe with anger, sarcasm or something not well thought out.  I am sending less  texts and emails, making sure that they are really necessary.  When speaking of my family to others, I am trying harder to relate the good things that have happened.  This sometimes is very challenging.

Why not make words memorable in a positive way?  Practice silence and say or write nothing until it can be framed positively - something that makes us proud.  Then come Yom Kippur, we will be asking forgiveness of fewer people.

Leslie Waldbaum

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