We are one hour away from a very special Shabbos that seamlessly goes into the fast of Tisha b’Av about 40 minutes before the end of Shabbos. One of the most important observances on this day, and this year it includes the Shabbos before this day, and actually the entire first nine days of the month of Av, is to control yourself and be extremely vigilant not to use any Loshon hoRa (bad words). I am repeating this post to remind you of the importance of this simple rule: if you can’t say anything good, say nothing at all! I wish you, Beautiful People, a good Shabbos and an easy fast. May this day of mourning be our last, and mat we all merit the arrival of Moshiach speedily in our times!
In a wonderful Russian play of the 60’s about love, kindness, and caring, there was a line that bothered me: “Even a cat appreciates a good word.” I could never understand the word “even” in this phrase – why “even a cat”? What about dogs? Birds? People, after all? My grandmother, may she rest in peace, talked to her plants, and they grew like crazy. My brother, who has inherited her green thumb, sings to plants and recites poetry to them. His house looks like a garden. But if good words have this power, imagine the harm that the bad words can cause!
In Judaism, there is a concept called “Loshon HoRah” – bad or evil talk. The Torah explicitly states that the punishment for engaging in it is Tzoraas, a terrible affliction commonly translated as leprosy. It is so highly infectious that those afflicted are immediately…
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