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Matos: Protecting Your Tools

By Five Towns Marriage Initiative

Last week’s parashah discussed how Bilam came to curse the Jewish people and instead words of blessing flowed forth from his lips. Now, in this week’s parashah, Matos, he receives his punishment for his evil intentions and is killed by the sword (Matos 31:8). Rashi tells us that Bilam used the tool of the Jewish nation when he went out to curse them, since the Jews are saved through prayer said with the lips. For this reason, he was killed by the sword, which would generally be the tool of the nations of the world, and specifically here the Jews used his tool just as he used theirs.

The Chofetz Chaim elaborates and says that we see from this that our weapon is our speech. He points out that a craftsman won’t leave to work without ensuring that his tools are with him, and so too, we always need to keep an eye on our tool—our speech. We can build so much through our speech and therefore we must guard this tool carefully to make sure it doesn’t get damaged from speaking lashon ha’ra, evil speech about others, and rechilus, slander. He then quotes the Gemara in Chullin which says that a person’s job is to make himself like a mute; then the Gemara questions if this refers to Torah as well and it answers that a person should only use his speech for righteousness.

Speech is a primary tool when interacting with others. The Gemara’s directive to make ourselves like mutes is not something to take lightly. Speech is a tool that was given to us with a purpose. Using it outside of that is potentially going to cause damage and ruin our unique tool. As we go through the Three Weeks, let us remember that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed through hatred and will be rebuilt through loving our fellow Jew. Let us use our tool of speech in the proper manner so that we can build up the people around us, build up our mikdash me’at, a reference to the Jewish home, and rebuild the Beis HaMikdash in all its glory. v

Five Towns Marriage Initiative provides educational programs, workshops, and referrals to top marriage therapists. FTMI will help offset counseling costs when necessary and also runs an anonymous shalom bayis hotline for the entire community Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, 10:00–11:00 p.m. For the hotline or for more information, call 516-430-5280 or e‑mail dsgarry@msn.com.

Matos: Protecting Your Tools

By Five Towns Marriage Initiative

Last week’s parashah discussed how Bilam came to curse the Jewish people and instead words of blessing flowed forth from his lips. Now, in this week’s parashah, Matos, he receives his punishment for his evil intentions and is killed by the sword (Matos 31:8). Rashi tells us that Bilam used the tool of the Jewish nation when he went out to curse them, since the Jews are saved through prayer said with the lips. For this reason, he was killed by the sword, which would generally be the tool of the nations of the world, and specifically here the Jews used his tool just as he used theirs.

The Chofetz Chaim elaborates and says that we see from this that our weapon is our speech. He points out that a craftsman won’t leave to work without ensuring that his tools are with him, and so too, we always need to keep an eye on our tool—our speech. We can build so much through our speech and therefore we must guard this tool carefully to make sure it doesn’t get damaged from speaking lashon ha’ra, evil speech about others, and rechilus, slander. He then quotes the Gemara in Chullin which says that a person’s job is to make himself like a mute; then the Gemara questions if this refers to Torah as well and it answers that a person should only use his speech for righteousness.

Speech is a primary tool when interacting with others. The Gemara’s directive to make ourselves like mutes is not something to take lightly. Speech is a tool that was given to us with a purpose. Using it outside of that is potentially going to cause damage and ruin our unique tool. As we go through the Three Weeks, let us remember that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed through hatred and will be rebuilt through loving our fellow Jew. Let us use our tool of speech in the proper manner so that we can build up the people around us, build up our mikdash me’at, a reference to the Jewish home, and rebuild the Beis HaMikdash in all its glory. v

Five Towns Marriage Initiative provides educational programs, workshops, and referrals to top marriage therapists. FTMI will help offset counseling costs when necessary and also runs an anonymous shalom bayis hotline for the entire community Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, 10:00–11:00 p.m. For the hotline or for more information, call 516-430-5280 or e‑mail dsgarry@msn.com.

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Posted by on July 17, 2014. Filed under In This Week's Edition. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.