This is the 5th installment in a series about improving our speech, l'ilui nishmat Saul Bruckner, a'h.
The following is taken from a recent Hakhel email:
D. In last week's Haftara, the Navi Hoshea (14:2,3), after urging us to do Teshuva (Shuva Yisroel!) immediately instructs us on how to do Teshuva with the words "Kechu Imachem Devorim Veshuvu El Hashem--take words with you and return to Hashem. We must take our words with us--we must realize (as the Vidui Booklet points out) that a GREAT NUMBER of the sins we mention in the Vidui of Yom Kippur have to do with misuse and abuse of that great power that distinguishes us from animal--our power of speech. The Chofetz Chaim teaches that if we are more circumspect with our speech, we can be free of the following Issurim:
1. Lashon Hora--brings many, many other aveiros along with it and can destroy relationships, families and lives
2. Rechilus--as above, and perhaps even more hurtful to the person
3. Sheker-while Hashem's seal is Emes!
4. Chanufa--including egging on...'you're right!'
5. Laitzanus--mockery, poking fun, ridicule
6. Ona'as Devorim--hurtful or insulting words
7. Halbanas Panim--one reader pointed out that embarrassing another in public causes one to forfeit his share in Olam Haba--and then asked if this is so --is this the greatest aveira--even greater than Chillul Hashem....
8. Divrei Ga'avah--words of arrogance--even though the sign of greatness is humility (Iggeres Haramban)
9. Divrei Machlokes--fighting, argumentative words
10. Divrei Ka'as --words of anger that you won't be able to take back.
Perhaps we can keep this list around near a place(s) where we can look at it before we are about to make a statement or comment, or have a conversation, that is not within our usual manner of speech. Remember the VERY FIRST words of instruction of the Navi--Kechu Imachem Devorim--VeShuvu el Hashem! May you hear your success--with your very own ears!
Please feel free to contact me with any questions and I can try to answer/clarify them as best as I can. If not I can attempt to refer you to an authority who can.
Thank you for reading,