These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Behold, the power of words

Posted on December 2, 2013 by Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez

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MSGMy Talmud class (level Daled, taught by the amazing Leah Rosenthal) is working our way through Masechet Kiddushin. We began by learning a few sugiyot (discussions) in the first two prakim (chapters), then we dove into the third where it starts to get really interesting a month or so ago (or maybe my time is way off, anything is possible).

So far, we have done the three sugiyot on the first mishna and while it doesn’t seem like it at first read, they all relay the power of words. As we wrapped up the discussion, I was reflecting on just how strong of a theme it was and how much the rabbis really were pushing the issue – and then Leah made the same point, so I knew I was on to something. (If you want to know the nuances from the Gemara, I’d be happy to discuss them, but don’t want to re-hash them all in this post.)

Too often we speak or type without really thinking through all the ramifications of our speech. Have our words come across as we intended them to? Have we unintentionally offended someone? Have we left out something important to have clear comprehension? This is the jist of what the rabbis are saying, and it rings true today.

I urge us all to use more foresight as we engage with our words, not only when entering into a marriage, but in all our daily activities and conversations. You never know the power your words will have on the people who hear (or read as is often the case) them.