Ethics

For the week ending 16 June 2007 / 30 Sivan 5767

Speech and Silence

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Question: As a public speaker in my community I am often called upon to deliver lectures in synagogues and schools for the purpose of improving religious observance. It is very frustrating to see how little effect these talks have, and I often consider retiring from such activity. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: The Chafetz Chaim was once approached with a similar question by a Jew who spoke for a long time to a packed synagogue but failed to see how even one Jew had improved as a result. This is what the sage answered:

"One never knows when his words will have an impact. The Torah commands us to 'place these things on your heart' in the hope that in time they will eventually be absorbed into your heart."

He then added another benefit of speaking to an unresponsive audience for a very long time:

"I'm surprised at you," replied the Chafetz Chaim. "Don't you know what the Vilna Gaon writes from a Midrashic source about silence? He says that for every second which a person holds his silence he merits the Hidden Light which is beyond the comprehension of even the angels. All this for just one second of silence! Now imagine how great is the reward for an entire audience being silent for two whole hours! What more do you want?"

© 1995-2014 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved.

Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission in advance at ohr@ohr.edu and credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions www.ohr.edu

« Back to Ethics

Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) and your donation is tax deductable.