This is one of the most pernicious lies:
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
Jews are well aware of the power of words to do harm and create good.
We depict God as creating the world through speech.
Then, in this week’s Torah reading, Joseph reported with no filter or diplomacy on his dreams in which he saw himself as ruling over everyone in his family. This led eventually to Joseph’s brothers throwing him into a pit and telling their father Jacob that his favorite son, their brother Joseph, was dead. They backed up this story with the famous “coat of many colors” dipped in animal blood as “exhibit A” for Joseph’s purported death.
We live in times in which words are used as bludgeons and then retracted as if they were meaningless every minute of every day.
We can fulfill the Jewish ideal of being a light unto the nations of the world by boldly and clearly sharing our deep understanding of the power of each and every word uttered and the responsibility that comes with speaking.
Wishing all of you a week of words of wonder and kindness and compassion as we enter into our Chanukah celebrations,