Parashat Ki Tetse
‘מוֹצָא שְׂפָתֶיךָ תִּשְׁמֹר’
Be careful of what comes out of your mouth. Parashat Ki Tetse focuses much on interpersonal relationships, whether between husband and wife or man and his fellow, and an integral part of these relationships is how we speak to one another and how we communicate with others. We must always concentrate on what escapes our lips. If we think about it, all other organs of the body function by taking things in; we breathe IN, we take sights IN, noises are taken INTO the ear (and depending who is speaking to us, they may go out the other). However, the faculty of speaking involves taking something instilled deeply within us and launching it into a world that exists outside us. By the power of speech, we are able to infuse the world with what WE create. We must be very careful how we use this privilege. What we say lingers in the minds’ of others way longer than we can imagine. Think three times before you must speak.
It is very easy for us to speak nicely to those who address us nicely. And for the most part, we are calm and courteous people in our everyday lives. The true test lies when there is conflict between two people has veShalom. When there is an argument, both sides genuinely think, and are fully convinced that they are right and the other party is wrong. What we sometimes fail to realize is that there is no such thing as a human being who is completely good nor does there exist a human being who is completely bad. We must always focus on our counterpart’s positive attributes and treat them based on such. We should also consider THEIR point of view and reassess the situation. Not everybody is right one hundred percent of the time. Give in to the fact that you just may be wrong, and that is okay. After all this, you still believe that you are completely free of blame, remember, life is never about who is right, it is about who is making it right. So even if we have the right to be upset and to accuse and to yell and scream and huff and puff, IT DOES NOT MEAN WE HAVE TO ALWAYS EXERCISE THAT RIGHT! Think about it, if you were safely driving down the street and you had the green light, the right of way is completely yours, correct? But all of a sudden from the periphery of your eye
you see a sixteen year old speeding in from the right, and he is about to pass through red, do you continue driving? OF COURSE NOT! But you did everything correctly! You obeyed the law to the fullest extent, you had your seatbelt fastened and checked your mirrors and drove under thirty miles an hour and had your license and registration neatly set in your glove compartment. I did it all! If I did everything correctly, don’t I at least deserve the right to continue driving down the road without anybody slowing me down? Of course you do, but would it really serve to your benefit? My friend, sometimes it is not about you; it is about the relationship. Maybe you will vindicate yourself, maybe you actually will prove that you are right, but at what cost? Don’t get hit.
Sometimes our anger gets the best of us we just want to blow up at someone, but before you do, keep in mind did they do it on purpose? Will you even remember this in two weeks from now? Is it really even worth it? Will the 5 minutes of ‘pleasure’ you derive from venting worth the pain and embarrassment you cause your fellow being? Before emotions get in the way, THINK.
If something really bothers you, approach the person calmly (not during the act/behavior that is an issue, wait until things calm down) and speak to them respectfully. Anger will never solve the problem, it will only exacerbate it. Only kindness and patience will ameliorate things.
In our society, we often obsess about what goes into our mouths. We cook gourmet dishes, count our calories (HaShem Yerahem), eat solely organic foods. But do we ever spend this much attention and energy on what goes out of our mouths?! And remember, it is not only aboutwhat leaves our lips; it is also important in which manner they do. When we ask somebody to kindly move over, how do we do it? Do we yell? Do we aggressively mutter it under our breaths? Or do we kindly look them in the eye, share a warm smile and ask ‘I’m sorry, but would it be possible to move over a little to accommodate me so I can also hear the Rav speak?’ It is human nature to remember the not so good things that people do to us and overlook the good deeds they share. Be the kind person that people want to remember. Begin by speaking kindly to others.
It is now, during the month of Elul, as we approach Rosh Hashanah and we must ask others for forgiveness. We all know that most of the misdeeds we ask to be forgiven for are for conflicts rooted in by how spoke to somebody. Be’Ezrat HaShem Yitbarakh this upcoming year we will treat and speak to our fellow beings with such kindness and sincerity that by this time next year we will not have which to beg forgiveness for. May HaKadosh Barukh Hu bless all of us with the integrity to commit to do so.
Wishing everybody a peaceful and inspiring Shabbat Shalom uMevorakh!