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To Speak or To Write

Develop yourself to the best of your ability

“The Torah Ideal is to speak to others in a manner that makes it a pleasure experience. Your tone of voice should be calm and pleasant when you speak to anyone. Do not speak in anger or raise your voice.”

Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian

We can take these words to heart, and the moment we feel our anger bubbling up in words, keep our mouths closed.

However, we think that the person should know what we think of him and of his behaviour. We therefore decide to tell him through a letter.

Our angry words in a letter fall under the prohibition of “ona’as devarim”.

Ona’as devarim means that it is forbidden to verbally wrong another person by telling him things that will distress and humiliate him, and make him discouraged.

Written language is also included and may have an even greater negative effect on the person. The words of a letter can be read over and over again, making the impact even greater.

It will not contribute to a positive self-image of the person and it will most likely not change his behaviour.

Writing a letter can be very helpful in expressing your anger in a proper way. (Sometimes we just need an outlet) Then put the letter away, read it again the next day and think about how you can transform your words to say them in a constructive and calm way to the other person.

מַרְפֵּ֣א לָ֭שׁוֹן עֵ֣ץ חַיִּ֑ים וְסֶ֥לֶף בָּ֝֗הּ שֶׁ֣בֶר בְּרֽוּחַ׃

A healing tongue is a tree of life,

But a devious one makes for a broken spirit.

(Proverbs 15:4)

Let the letters of our words be like fruits to hang in this tree.

By Angelique Sijbolts

Sources: Inspired by Positive Word Power day 93, Every Day, Holy Day

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