Published Date: July 29, 2019
This week’s music: https://youtu.be/wEQYpCcnmnE
Mazal Tov! Mazal Tov! 26 years ago, this coming Monday Yom Sheni, 26 Tammuz, my wife Michelle, I and 2 children had the honor to “go up” to live in our Holy Land. What a blessing? What a gig? There is light everywhere you turn. And talk about family. Everywhere you go family abound. Beautiful new familial connections were made all the time. May we all be blessed to see that light clearly soon. So what better time than now to take stock of where we’ve been and where we’re going to be.
When we came into the land 3200 years ago what were we thinking? Often times, we derive from the “p’shat ,” literal meaning, that we weren’t thinking much positive stuff at all. It doesn’t seem like we were dreaming. Rather the opposite. We seem scared of the physical uncertainty and perhaps, our “bitachon,” faith in God is waning. We don’t read much in the book of “Bamidabr” about B’nai Yisrael saying positive things.
Oh yes we do speak quite a lot. After all, we are the “dor hamidbar,” the generation of the desert or the same letters pronounced with a different accent, “dor ha’me’daber,” the generation that speaks. Their thinking was always portrayed as negative so it stands to reason that their words were negative. We argued a lot, complained and showed much chutzpah towards The One who we and our fathers saw with our own eyes, perform awesome miracles and shed light upon us about everything that was happening in our lives. In spite of all that complaining somehow we are blessed to go into The Land and make it holy.This week’s parshah of Matot gave a hint of how we may have fixed all the speaking that we did up until that point of entry.
In the time leading up to Moshe leaving the world, Moshe speaks to the heads of the tribes of B’nai Yisrael telling them, “this is the word ( thing) that God commanded”( Bamidbar 30.2).
When a man makes a vow la’Hashem to forbid to himself something which I already forbidden,…“lo yachel dvaro,” his words won’t be nullified/Suddenly from this passuk we realize that when I say it ,it is happening. “k’chol hayotze mipiv ya’aseh,” whatever comes out of his mouth it will be done” ( Bamidbar 30.3) Though this verse speaks of vows, a parallel can be drawn to all words that come out of our mouths. If I say something negative, I can cause pain not only to the one I spoke to, but even to places and people that I am not aware of. I am filling the air with spiritual pollution which travels with no bounds,” “k’chol hayotze mipiv ya’aseh,” whatever comes out of his mouth it will be done” I said it, it’s out there, it’s done. If I say something it means I put it out there, positive or negative. “No big deal, just something I said,” I might think.
Obviously not what happens. Our words are hovering over the whole world, effecting to reaches beyond. Accountability! Can I take responsibility for everything I say? 0I seem more concerned with what he said, what she said than with , what did I say/ Nothing that I say should be on the level of wasted words. They all carry a sense of importance.
Well my friends I have two choices. I can kill with my words or I can bring more light into the world. Sometimes if I give someone a compliment whether that person really needed it or not may take a back seat to the fact that I needed to change my ways and only look for good things to say. As I fix myself I am also spreading good vibes and positive connections. In the desert, before being able to enter The land, B’nai Yisrael learned , ”…k’chol hayotze mipiv ya’aseh,”whatever comes out of his mouth it will be done.” This was there chance, the message to each of them to do “t’shuvah,” repent from within by responsibly monitoring what goes out.
One of the strongest ways to arrive at that level of responsibility is through prayer. We need to use our words to communicate through prayer and we learn how to think positively and speak positively. When we do, we don’t only make what we say a personal expression. It is an expression that has as its basis, a connection to the whole. We pray in the “we’ form, because we want to act selflessly, though we are certainly part of the whole. And before we even attempt to accomplish that that, we ask God to “open our mouths and let me sing your praises.” As the Slonimer teaches, everything that comes out of our mouth can serve as a vessel of service to Hashem, which then makes each of us even holier and more connected to God and each other.
When looking at ourselves in connection to the “dor hamidbar,” we too are quite the “dor hamedaber.” We have a lot of opinions and we want everybody to know them. Not only that, we seem to want everyone to absolutely agree and respect every word I say, no matter if it offends their own belief system, individual or collective, existentially or religiously. I am right so if you want to also be right, agree with me. And I speak loud because I am not sure anyone is listening. I need to get your attention so you know that what I have to say is gold.
Yet Jewishly, traditionally this not does not fall in with our historical holy teachings. The Talmud is filled with scholarly differences of opinions. Are these great Rabbinic scholars arguing about how they interpret the law, about how they heard it given down from their fathers and grandfathers, mothers and grandmothers. Indeed, yet there is one basic difference that I need to understand. When an argument is for the sake of heaven , when I am using my mouth to be a vessel in service of Hashem, for the sake of heaven, so I am raising both of us to a higher level. “Elu ve’elu divrei Elohim chaim,” both of these words are the words of God alive in us all. You’re right and I am right!
Getting back to the desert and our pattern of putting our dreams on hold,dreams should be sweet. Too much talking, no space for dreaming. “b’shuv Hashem, et shivat tziyon hayinu k’cholmim, az yimale s’chok pinu u’l’shonenu rinah.” When the Lord returned the captives of Zion, we were like people in a dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with joyful exultationn ( Psalms 126).
We, thank God are blessed to have made it to Zion. Now we need to dream higher to make Zion a place of peace a place where people listen to and respect each other, though they may not agree. A place where I check each word that I send out and hope and pray that it is having a positive effect on the world and that I am serving “l’shem shamayim,” in the name of the heavens. “Sheyibaneh Beit Hamikdash b’mehayra baymenu,” May He bless us to build the Holy Temple speedily in our days, AMEN!!!