Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mikeitz - Think Before You Speak

One of the most difficult habits to teach ourselves is to think before we speak, watch what we say. Words are not ping pong balls to be batted around without thinking. The world was created with words. Words are alive and meaningful. 
That is why Yaakov's curse came true, even though he had unknowingly cursed his beloved wife, "With whomever you find your gods, he shall not live." (Bereishit: 31:32)
This is why Joseph's interpretations of the baker's and the wine steward's dreams were fulfilled just as Joseph said.
B"H, Joseph knew this. And B"H he was wise enough to learn from the past and correct the failures of our ancestors, and to teach his sons how to incorporate these teachings into their lives as well.
After Joseph "discovers" that his chalice is missing, he sends his officers to chase his brothers and arrest them. Yehuda says foolishly, "Anyone among your servants with whom it is found shall die, and we also will become slaves to my lord." (Bereishit 44:9)
Yosef is wiser than his brother. He above all others has learned the lesson of his father's rash words. They cost Joseph the loss of his mother Rachel.
So, even his officer (his son Menashe) understands the lesson. He corrects Yehuda's rash words "What you say now is also correct. The one with whom it is found shall be my slave..." (Bereishit: 44:10)
There is a lesson to be learned here. Never utter rash words. Think before you speak. And if someone says something foolish to you, reword it to something more positive and less hurtful.
We are all granted a finite amount of words in our lives. Use them carefully.

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