Are you guilty of it too? Most of us are!

We’re all humans, and it’s not uncommon for us to make mistakes. In fact, it might be more accurate to say that we often make mistakes. We do or say the wrong things, entertain unproductive thoughts, and experience less-than-ideal emotions. These actions don’t always align with the image we have of ourselves or the person we aspire to be.
 
Over the past two weeks, I’ve been reminded of this reality, and I feel compelled to share it with you. Not only that, but I want to offer a solution to this problem!
 
It all started last week when I was reading a passage from the Bible known as Tazria, which derives from the word “to seed.” The passage begins by detailing the rituals surrounding the birth of a boy, including circumcision, a significant Jewish tradition performed on the eighth day of a male child’s life.
However, the text then transitions seemingly abruptly to the topic of malicious speech, gossip, or as described in the Bible, evil speech, known as Lashon Hara.
 
What’s the connection?
The connection lies in the Hebrew word used for both concepts.
 
The term for circumcision is Brit milah. “Brit” means covenant, and “mila” means word. Reflecting on the idea of the covenant of the word leads us to consider the significance of our speech.
❓Do we uphold promises and commitments regarding our speech? Just as we value promises and contracts, should we not assign the same value to our spoken words?
 
In biblical Judaism, great importance is placed on the words we utter. Speaking ill of someone is likened to committing murder—it’s that serious.
 
While circumcision is an outward ritual, the covenant of our word originates from our internal thoughts and manifests outwardly through speech. The word “Tazria” means to seed.
 
❓What seeds do we sow in the world through our words? Will these seeds nurture our growth or hinder our journey toward who we aspire to be?
 
This emphasis on the value of our words is underscored by the Bible, dedicating several chapters to the topic. In this week’s reading, the term “tzarat” is mentioned. Negative speech, gossip, and slander have consequences—it’s akin to a spiritual condition known as “tzara-at,” often translated to leprosy in English, although it’s more accurately understood as a spiritual affliction rather than a medical one.
 
Leprosy can affect individuals, their clothing, or even their homes. The prescribed remedy involves seeking evaluation from a priest, not a doctor. If diagnosed, the individual is isolated for a period before being cleared. If the affliction is in the home, the infected part is replaced.
 
Initially, I found this notion embarrassing and shameful. But what if we viewed the physical manifestation of harmful speech differently? What if it served as a positive alert?
 
Most of us may not even realize when we engage in gossip. We might justify it as simply sharing our thoughts or offering a warning.
❓ But what if we had a subtle signal—a minor discomfort, like an itch on the thigh—as a personal alert? Would that prompt us to reflect on our words?
 
I believe it would.
 
❓ So, what can we do now that we know gossip doesn’t lead to physical leprosy?
 
We need an internal alarm.⏰
We must be mindful of the words we speak, treating them as a covenant—a promise to our higher selves.
 
❓ How do we achieve this?
We need to consider the energy behind our words. Are we using them to heal or harm? To build up or tear down? Are we speaking from a place of judgment or genuine concern? And if it’s concern, have we first addressed the individual directly, or are we bypassing them? Are we delivering our words with mockery or discernment?
 
I’ll admit, I’m not always mindful of my words, and I’m guilty of gossiping. But the first step towards healing is acknowledgment.
 
The next step is honoring the covenant of our words—the Brit.
Are you with me?
 

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As always,

Be Yourself, Be Positive, Be the Champion you want to see