May 16, 2024
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May 16, 2024
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Oops, I Can’t Take It Back

It’s too late! You can’t take back what you said! You may have heard the phrase, “Think before you speak”; this phrase is rooted in Judaism. Rabbeinu Bachya says הֲדִבּוּר יֵשׁ לוֹ כֹּחַ גָּדוֹל הֵן לְטוֹב הֵן לְהָפְכוֹ , which means speech has a great power, for good and for its opposite.

In Parshat Tazria, we learn that after a woman gives birth, she is impure and then must give a sin sacrifice (korban). According to many commentators, a woman must give a sin sacrifice after giving birth because of the bad things or promises she said during labor. Additionally, the parsha speaks about tzaraat which is the punishment for people who speak lashon hara. Lashon hara is when someone speaks truth behind someone’s back and makes someone think poorly about another person.

At first, I was confused about what a mother giving birth and a person having tzaraat have to do with one another. Now I realize, it is putting together two types of people who, after the fact of saying something, reflect and wish they could’ve taken what they said back. Rabbeinu  Bachya expresses that we can use the same mouth to help someone or to harm someone. Both of these situations show us how we must think before we talk and that we shouldn’t talk impulsively. May we all learn how to think before we talk, and may Hashem grant us the ability to say the right things at the right times and to hold ourselves back from speaking when that is best. May we use our words to give brachot, pray, make people happy and bring ourselves and others close to Hashem.


Shira Sedek is a passionate educator currently working toward a master’s degree at Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration. 

 

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