Expression of the Soul
Onkelos, in translating the phrase “a living being” states that its deeper meaning is that man became a “speaking being”. What is the message behind this apparent change from the literal reading of the verse?
It is clear to all that the main function of speech is to reveal one’s thoughts and ideas to others. What is not so clear, however, is that man’s soul, which is his life and essence, is both connected to and expressed via his ability to communicate. We can thus say that it is man’s ability to express the innermost thoughts of his soul that characterizes his essence. Accordingly, man is truly a “living being” when his soul, which is his true self, becomes a part of the world through the power of speech. This idea is hinted to in the verse, “My soul goes out with its speech (Shir Hashirim 5:6)”; that is, one’s essence becomes revealed through speech. One’s emotions are also invested in the spoken word, and therefore through speech one can unify with the one that he is communicating with on a most intimate level.
Truly, the gift of expression is the most essential of
We thus find that Chana proclaimed with regard to her prayer, when she poured out her heart before
When, however, man speaks empty words — or worse, when his speech is hurtful and damaging to the world and others — he is not acting out his potential to be a “living being”, since such speech does not come from one’s essence, the holy soul within man.