Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Guard your tongue...

Words are powerful things.

They are the building blocks of the co-created world in which we live.

Our sages tell us that G-d created the world with ten utterances.

In this way we are encouraged to recognise, Abra Ke dibrah ( Abbra Cadabbra!) As I speak so I create.

In Judaism there is the concept of 'evil talk' Loshan Horah and there are numerous orthodox texts which closely examine its crucial implications for our lives.

The continued transgressions of a slanderous tongue may lead ultimately to exclusion from the world to come, Olam Habah, emphasizing the care with which we should attend to our daily speech.

There is the old allegory of the congregant who approached her rabbi in order to heal her guilty heart. Having confessed to a loose tongue which had slandered others, the woman asked for guidance.

The rabbi suggested that she fill a bag with feathers and leave one on the doorstep of each person she had maligned.The woman duly carried out his instructions and placed a feather at the door of every victim of her 'evil tongue'.She returned to the Rabbi the following day for further instructions. The Rabbi asked that she now return to each doorstep to retrieve the feathers.

The woman soon contacted the Rabbi in a panic, only a few feathers had been found. Most had been carried off by the wind and were long gone.

Such is the path of words. They will find their own way out into the world, gaining the strength to build or destroy as they go. Our words fall like pebbles into still water rippling out beyond our control...

The Amidah ends with this prayer: " Guard my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking guile, and to such as curse me let my soul be dumb...'