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Rabbi Zaltzman on Parashat Emor

(Flickr photo)

Our words have tremendous impact and we have to choose them very carefully. According to Kabbalah, the world was created through divine “speaking” – by creating channels of energy that brought, and continue to bring, everything into existence. For example, the very words “Let there be light” became the creative force that brought light into being. The same is true for every detail in the universe.

As human beings created in the divine image, we are empowered to act as a partner in creation and are endowed with abilities that emulate the divine. Thus, our words actually have the power to create realities. We can speak things into existence, create with our words and manifest that which we truly want.

This point is illustrated through a story of two men quarreling. One shouted at the other, “I will tear you apart like a fish!” The Baal Shem Tov, a mystic and founder of the Hasidic movement, heard this and told his disciples to form a circle, take each other’s hands and close their eyes. He himself closed the circle by placing his hands upon the shoulders of the two disciples nearest him. Suddenly, the disciples cried out in terror. They all witnessed a horrifying vision of the angry man actually tearing his fellow apart, just as he had threatened. On some level, his words had created that reality, and the Baal Shem Tov was able to see it and share it.

Everything we say creates a reality. Words of love create nurturing, connection and beauty. Words of praise inspire confidence, peace and growth. Words of hope generate positive action. Words of encouragement bring courage into being. Consistent mention of a person’s good traits bring them to the surface, facilitating their manifestation in the person’s life.

The converse is also true. Speaking about a person’s negative qualities provokes their expression, even if the person is unaware that he is being spoken about.

What an awe-inspiring thought.