Candle Lighting time 5:18 PM
The powerful song “This Is Me” is an unforgettable show tune featured in The Greatest Showman, the smash movie musical loosely based on the life of P. T. Barnum and his traveling circus. The lyrics, sung by characters in the film who’d suffered verbal taunts and abuse for failing to conform to societal norms, describe words as destructive bullets and knives that leave scars. The song’s popularity points to how many people bear the invisible, but real, wounds caused by weaponized words.
In this week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim, two laws speaks of weaponized words concerning a child and his/her parents. “One who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 21:15) one who curses his father or mother shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 21:17)
Rabbi Abraham Twersky, M.D. writes:
“Ramban says that cursing one’s parents is even more grievous a sin that striking them. Hostile words may be worse than hostile deeds.
“King Solomon says, ‘The words of a contentious person are like self-justification; and they penetrate into the innermost recesses.’ (Proverbs 18:8) R’ Samson Raphael Hirsch comments, ‘A habitually irascible man is as if possessed by a passion for quarreling. His agitation carries him away to irresponsible utterances. His words seemed to sound like self-justification, like defense. However, instead of fending off the insult, instead of confining himself to refuting unjustified aggression, he offends his adversary with insults which penetrate into the depths of his being. Instead of protecting himself he destroys the other.’ (Wisdom of Mislei, p. 106)
“In my book The Shame Borne in Silence, I point out the gravity of verbal abuse between spouses. Sometimes a spouse will say that he/she was provoked by the partner, and that the abuse of words were in self-defense. R’ Hirsch rebuts this argument of self-defense: ‘Instead of protecting himself he destroys the other.’
“The Gaon of Vilna, in his commentary on Mishlei, states that insulting words may be more harmful than physical blows. Insults ‘penetrate into the innermost recesses.’ Physical injuries may heal. The wounds inflicted by verbal abuse may never heal.
“Injuring another person, whether physically or emotionally, is a biblical prohibition….” (Twersky on Chumash, page 151)
Our entire Bible establishes the unique dignity and beauty of each human being, not because of outward appearance or anything we have done, but because we are each beautifully designed by God—His unique masterpieces (Psalm 139:14). We need to choose our words carefully because what we say to each other and about each other have the power wound the innermost recesses of the person or to reinforce that reassuring reality.
Save the Date!
Schechter LI presents - Night of Jewish Learning on Saturday, March 7th from 7:30 to 10:00 pm at 6 Cross Street, Williston Park, NY 11596. The theme is "Science & Jewish Thought".
This year we focus on engaging the next generation of Jewish scientists. Sessions will include a keynote address by Rabbi Daniel Nevins, traditional text study with local clergy and other community teachers, and Schechter student presentations on Jewish bioethics and engineering.
Event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served. RSVP's are required. Click on this link to register https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07egude41rf6daff4d&oseq=&c=8d825de0-41a4-11e3-b575-d4ae527b8c41&ch=8ed3bd10-41a4-11e3-b624-d4ae527b8c41.
Starting January 21 you will be able to cast your vote for MERCAZ in the World Zionist Congress Election. We are reminded that this election is the one opportunity we, as American Jews, have to directly use our voice in Israel and shine a light on issues of religious pluralism.
By casting your vote for MERCAZ, it will send a critical message that pluralism, democracy and equality are critical to creating a strong and vibrant Israel and that the right to observe Judaism, that very right that the Maccabees once fought for, is open to all in our own way.
By casting your vote for MERCAZ, it will also ensure that we will get our fair share of the $1 billion dollars in funding for programs both in Israel and around the world. These are critical dollars that grow our movement and make sure our voice is heard!
Let’s not sit idly by and let this opportunity pass. Vote for MERCAZ from January 21 thru March 11, 2020. Follow this link to register and vote for MERCAZ https://www.mercaz2020.org/
Monday, March 9 Marathon and Hollis Hills will celebrate Purim together at Hollis Hills. Rabbi Greene will co-officiate with Rabbi Wise. Watch your mail for details.
Wednesday, March 25, 7:15 PM sisterhood invites all women to join them as the Rosh Hodesh group gets ready for Passover with a chocolate Seder. Five dollars contribution to cover costs. Reservations a must by March 18. Call the office today to make your reservations