Not only think it – but say it! Emor!

Friday, 8 May, 2020 - 5:08 am

 The time was 1:30 pm in New York, the Shabbat of Parashat Emor, 1982 (5742). Thousands of Chassidim were crowded in there – some sitting, most standing. The Tefillah (services) had just ended, but no one had time to get home and make Kiddush. They must have heard Kiddush from someone in 770 – the Rebbe’s Beit Midrash (study hall). Their eyes and ears were wide open. This was a Hitva’adut (spiritual meeting) with the Rebbe. The Rebbe proceeded to speak in Yiddish for about 6 hours straight, except for a few breaks for singing.
He quoted from all parts and levels of the Torah, and explained them. And yes, he mainly was “Doresh.” No – he did not say a Drasha (a sermon); rather, he made demands (Drishot)! With the Rebbe there were no merely beautiful words of Torah – they always came together with a demand that people act. There was always a stubborn, very contemporary message in what he said.
This time, on Shabbat Parashat Emor 1982 (5742), the main theme of the Hitva’adut could be summarized in one word: “Emor.”
“Emor” is in the imperative. You are commanded to say; and say continually. (The Rebbe said inYiddish: “Halten In Ein Zagen.”
What should one say? Say favorable words and speak of the merits of your fellow Jew. The Tanna (Mishnaic scholar) Rabbi Yehoshua ben Perachia, said in Masechet Avot: “Judge every person favorably.” The Lubavitcher Rebbe said: It is not enough to judge your fellow Jew favorably in your thoughts; you must express it in spoken words.
Not only think it – but say it! Emor!
And one more thing: When you say it, say it gently and pleasantly. The verse doesn’t say “Daber,” but “Emor.” A Dibbur comes with harshness; an Amirah comes with gentleness, softness.

Why must one speak? Why isn’t it enough to think?
The Rebbe brings two reasons:
A. Give your friend some pleasure. If you think good things about him, tell him so.
B. Judging favorably exposes merits. When you judge your fellow Jew favorably, you will be revealing, arousing and lighting up his noble abilities, the merits and the good that are in him, even though at the moment he is in a situation where you have to make an effort to think positive thoughts about him.

My friends, speech is powerful, and this week we are commanded to use it for the good.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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