Thursday, December 26, 2013


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Va’era – Mevorchim Chodesh Shevat
23 Teves 5774/December 27, 2013

            Jack rushed into the airport. Traffic had been heavy getting to the airport, and he was eager to check in and get through security. He checked three times to make sure he had his passport and ticket. Check-in proceeded monotonously. As soon as his luggage was checked in, and he had his boarding passes, he dashed over to the line for security. He had heard that this airport had installed an extremely high tech security machine that was so sensitive it could detect weapons standard security detectors wouldn’t register. Although happy that security was so tight, Jack hoped it wouldn’t cause him any delays.
When it was finally his turn he was gratified to hear that he didn’t need to take off his coat or even his shoes. Glad to spare everyone else that odor he gleefully thought as he nonchalantly stepped through the machine. No sooner did he do so when a piercing siren erupted from atop the machine. Security guards burst out from all directions and shoved a bewildered jack into a side room. Jack tried to reason with the guard, “either there was a mistake or your fancy machine is defective. I have nothing even remotely dangerous on me”. But the guard ignored him. He pulled out an electronic wand and began passing it up and down in front of Jack’s body. As soon as it came close to Jack’s face it began beeping wildly. “What are you hiding in your mouth?” demanded the guard.  By now Jack was as angry as he was frazzled. “In my mouth? Hmmm. I keep my teeth there because I figured they’d be safe there. Oh yeah, and I also leave my tongue in there, and –“
“You think this is a joke, don’t you?” snapped the officer. “But our machine is detecting that you are a danger to us. Apparently you are a very critical person, and don’t mince words in verbally trashing our government and all of its policies. You seem to have no problem bashing segments of our people, anyone remotely different than you. You may not have any physical weapons, but the insidious damage you cause us constantly – socially, financially, and in depleting our morale, is huge. Sorry buddy, you deserve to be on our no-fly list! You really are a menace to society!”

One morning during davening I motioned to a student who was a repeat-offender talker to be quiet. He looked up at me and said, “Why are you bothering me? I didn’t do anything so bad?” indeed with physical eyes and ears he would seem to be correct. But the Shulchan Aruch says otherwise. It states unequivocally that speaking during Chazaras Hashatz is a grave sin that’s “too great to bear.”
Mishna Berura (124:27 quoting Elya Rabbah) states “Woe is to those that talk during Chazaras HaShatz, as many Shuls throughout history have been destroyed due to this sin”.
Rav Moshe Wolfson shlita announces in his shul, Emunas Yisroel in Boro Park, that based on the aforementioned Mishna Berura,  those who talk during davening are tantamount to people who take an ax and begin chopping mercilessly at the shul’s foundation. Therefore, on behalf of the congregation, he requests that those who wish to talk during davening should daven somewhere else.
In addition, the Chofetz Chaim warns repeatedly about the dangers of speaking loshon hora, and the evils of ona’as devorim, hurtful, insulting, and demeaning words.
Reminding ourselves of the power of our mouth is something we can always use chizuk in. Perhaps the machine that exposed Jack hasn’t been invented yet in this world, but in the World of Truth it has been up and running since man was granted the priceless, yet awesome, gift of speech.  

      Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,
      R’ Dani and Chani Staum

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