Watch Your Language!

In Othello 3:3 William Shakespeare writes:

Who steals my purse, steals trash;

‘tis something, nothing;

‘Twas mine, ‘tis his and has been slave to

Thousands;

But he that filches from me my good name

Robs me of that which not enriches him,

And makes me poor indeed.

 

In Parsha Ki Tetze, Devarim 22:13-19 we see an incident of “motzi shem ra”, “slander” where a husband comes to hate his newlywed wife and tries to void her ketubah by accusing her of adultery.

 

If it is proven that the wife did not commit adultery, the husband must be fined one hundred silver shekels and give them to her father because he defamed a maiden of Israel and she will remain his wife, he may not divorce her all of his life.

 

Rashi points out that one transgression engenders another. The husband transgressed the commandment “Do not hate” and ultimately he reached the point of malicious slander.

 

Watching what we say is extremely difficult. On Yom Kippur, (a month from today) each time we say the Vidui-Al Chet (confession) we will mention eleven sins connected with speech:

“For the sin that we have sinned before You…

-with the utterance of the lips (vitui sefatayim)

-through harsh speech (bedibur peh)

-with insincere confession (bevidui peh)

-through foolish speech (betipshut peh)

-through impure lips ((betumat sefatayim)

-through denial and false promises (bichashash uvichazav)

-through evil talk (lashon hara)

-through scorning (bilatzon)

-with idle chatter of our lips (siach siftoteinu)

-by gossip mongering (berichilut)

-through vain oath-taking (bishvuat shav)”

 

The opposite of one transgression leads to another is that one mitzvah leads to another so let’s focus on observing more mitzvoth!