Guarding the Tongue

The Abir Yaakov tells us that our main function and tikkun (rectification) in the world depends on that which we speak. King Solomon says, “All man’s toil is for his mouth” (Ecclesiastes 6:7). The words of prayer and Torah that we say create worlds above. When we remove ourselves from physicality, we will realize that the most important thing is our lofty words that are spiritual and are our life force.

The power of true speech is unique to humanity. Every holy word we speak rises up to the heavens above and attaches itself to its spiritual root in the upper worlds and rectifies them.

The opposite is also true, G-d forbid. We can destroy spiritual worlds through our speech. Our Sages tell us that lashon hara (disparaging speech) is equal to idolatry, forbidden relations, and bloodshed (Arachin  15b).

King David warns us, “Who is the person who desires life, who loves days of seeing good? Guard your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit” (T’hillim 34:13-14). Unfortunately, most people are not concerned with guarding their tongue. King David is warning us that improper speech prevents a person from cleaving to holiness and creates a barrier between the person and Hashem.

The Abir Yaakov explains that we are being warned by King David, “Who is the person who desires life?” — who wishes to achieve holiness in this world? And, “who loves days of seeing good?” — this refers to the World to Come, where we will find eternal life, goodness, and delight. If a person desires these things, then one must “Guard your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.” The life we seek depends on our ability to guard our words, so that our words will rise above, enabling us to attain holiness.

Based on Pituchei Chotam: Insights on the Weekly Parashah by Rabbi Yaakov Abuchatzeira, The Abir Yaakov, Bamidbar — Devarim, Parashah Mattot, Artscrcoll

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This site is dedicated to the teachings of Rebbe Nachman and his followers, Chassidut, Kabbalah, and Non-Chassidic Torah Giants... By Yaakov Shmuel

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