Simcha's Torah Stories - Devarim
A MAN OF WORDS
You look a little nervous, Chaim.
You are very perceptive, Avi. I am nervous.
Is everything okay?
Thank G-d, everything is fine. I have to give a Devar Torah today in front of the whole class.
Wow, that's wonderful. What are you going to speak about?
Each week someone speaks about the weekly Torah portion. This week it is my turn. The problem is that I am not a very good public speaker. The words do not come easily.
The words . . . the words . . . the words . . . These are the words.
These are the words that Moshe spoke to all of Israel.
Those are the first words of the parsha, aren't they?
Yes, Chaim. Moshe Rabbeinu, our teacher Moses, spoke very eloquently to the Jewish people.
He must have been a phenomenal public speaker.
He was. He taught them the whole Torah. Do you remember what he said over forty years earlier, when G-d asked him to go to Paroh to free the Jewish people from slavery?
"I am not a man of words."
Right you are Chaim. You have a great memory. The Torah refers to Moshe Rabbeinu as having a "heavy mouth" and "heavy speech".
How did a person who had such a problem speaking manage to teach the whole Torah to the Jewish people?
Excellent question, Chaim. The Medrash relates a dialog between G-d and Moshe Rabbeinu that goes something like this:
"Go and I will send you to Paroh."
"But I am not a man of words. In Paroh's palace are people who can translate seventy languages, so that everyone can come to speak in his own language. I will come as a messenger of G-d, and I will not be able to speak to them. They will laugh at me and say, 'This is a messenger of the creator of the world?'"
"I taught Adam, the first man, how to speak seventy languages. Do you question that I can teach you how to speak well?"
And so it went Chaim. The same mouth, whose speech was heavy, taught the whole Torah to the Jewish people.
But how did he do it? How did he become such a good speaker?
The Medrash answers that question also, Chaim. The words of Torah heal the tongue. That is what Shlomo HaMelech, King Solomon, wrote in Proverbs "The tree of life (Torah) is a healing tongue." If you want to cure speech problems, either slowness of speech or loshon hora (slander), speak and learn words of Torah. This is what cured Moshe Rabbeinu. He learned and taught the whole Torah. This cured his speech problem.
I am feeling more confident already, Avi. Can I use this as my Devar Torah for the class today?
You certainly may, Chaim. Just go over it and learn it well. When you get up to speak, have confidence. You are teaching words of Torah. G-d will put the words into your mouth.
Avi, with you help, I will become a man of words.
With G-d's help and with the Torah's help.
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