Speech and Language in Jewish Thought and Law
In this class we will look at some of the concepts and halachot related to speech in Judaism. We will start from the earliest sources and learn how speech – what separates humans from animals – is viewed in the Torah. We will look the power of speech in Judaism and try to understand why it holds such an important place in the Jewish mindset, and why it is so important for us to be aware of the words that come out of our mouth. We will then examine a selection of laws of proper speech (shmirat halashon) and some mussari concepts related to shmirat halashon. Time permitting, we will also look at some ideas about the sanctity and significance of the of the Hebrew language – lashon hakodesh.
Speech and Language in Jewish Thought and Law: Lesson 1
INTRODUCTION AND SOURCES: In the first class we’ll do a brief introduction and then look at some of the classic sources (Tanach, Mishna, and their commentaries) on speech. Where does speech come from? How does Judaism approach the concept of speech? What do the sages have to say about it?
Speech and Language in Jewish Thought and Law: Lesson 2
THE POWER OF SPEECH: Looking forward to our class in a few hours. We will finish up the material we didn’t get to last time, and start a new topic: the power of speech. We’ll look at the effect that speech has in the world – both spiritual and tangible – and our ability to impact the world around us through our words.
Speech and Language in Jewish Thought and Law: Lesson 3
LEVELS OF SPEECH: We’ll look in this class at what the Pele Yoetz has to say about the different categories of speech. I think that through this we’ll start to understand in a more clearly defined way what we’ve been discussing until now. Armed with the knowledge that words have an incredible power to them and that we have to be careful about what we let pass through our lips, what are the guidelines? Sources are already posted so feel free to take a peek. I look forward to seeing you in class!
Speech and Language in Jewish Thought and Law: Lesson 4
INTRODUCTION TO SHMIRAT HALASHON: In this class we’ll begin looking at what will be the topic for the next several lessons – the laws of speech, or Shmirat Halashon (literally, guarding one’s tongue). We’ll get a conceptual overview, and possibly – time permitting – look at a couple of specific topics in the area of shmirat halashon. Hope to see you on Thursday!
Speech and Language in Jewish Thought and Law: Lesson 5
Speech and Language in Jewish Thought and Law: Lesson 6
LASHON HARA L’TOELET: In this class we’ll review the positive mitzvot in the Torah related to speech, then finish of the halachot from last time, and begin discussing the concept of “Lashon Hara l’toelet” – speaking lashon hara for a constructive purpose. When is it permissible (and in some cases actually obligatory) to speak about another person? See you tomorrow!
Speech and Language in Jewish Thought and Law: Lesson 7
LISTENING TO LASHON HARA AND THE LAWS OF RECHILUT: I realize that for those of you in North America it will still be a fast day during the shiur – here in Israel the fast will be long over. If you are up to attending then I look forward to seeing you. We’ll be discussing some of the laws related to listening to Lashon Hara, as well as some laws dealing with Rechilut. Sources are posted! Tzom Mo’il and see you later!
Speech and Language in Jewish Thought and Law: Lesson 8
ROOT CAUSES OF LASHON HARA AND A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HEBREW: Ok folks, only a few hours till our last class together of the session! I hope you can all make it! Today we’ll be learning about the root causes of lashon hara – and try to see why we stumble in this area and how to strengthen ourselves in keeping the laws of shmirat halashon. At the end hopefully we’ll still have time to take a quick look at a few sources concerning the sanctity of the Hebrew language – lashon hakodesh. See you soon!