Tuesday, July 10, 2007


"Rabbi Gamliel told his servant to buy the best meat in the market. The servant brought home a tongue. The next day Rabbi Gamliel asked him to buy the worst thing in the market; again the servant bought a tongue. This incident teaches us that there is nothing better than a good tongue, and nothing worse than an evil one." (Midrash, Vayikra Rabba 33)

Our Sages tell us that it is important to teach your mouth to say "I don't know." Just as saying "please" and "thank you" trains a person to be grateful , similarly, "I don't know" conditions a person to be humble.

Just as there are certain foods we would find abhorrent to eat, so too, we should be repulsed at the possibility of swallowing a lie.

Similarly there are some words we should be repulsed to say. "I want to do evil"; "I don't care about other people"; "I want to be miserable." These phrases are hard to pass by our lips.

If there's a phrase you can't bring yourself to say, then realize how significant that concept is in your life and in the essential makeup of your being. Make an effort to live with the fundamental ideas that make up who you are. At the very least say, "I want, above all else, to be good, to do the right thing; I want to have purpose and meaning in life." By saying it, you have moved yourself closer to achieving it.

Sometimes I want to re-do my kitchen simply so I can order one of these wonderful tile murals. The one above called Jerusalem Olive Tree is from Balian-Armenian Ceramics of Jerusalem, a mother-son studio in Israel. Food would have to taste better in a kitchen that had this on the wall.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I also feel that at times when things are trying, it is important to ask for G-D's help in knowing and doing the right thing.