Parshas Beshalach-It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It!-By Rabbi Moshe Gruenstein

t’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It!

In this week’s parsha of Beshalach, the Jewish people experience the greatest
miracle since creation – the splitting of the Red Sea. They then travel for three
days looking for water and because of their great thirst, the Torah tells us that
they complain to Moshe, “What are we going to drink?” Rashi, the great biblical
commentator points out that this was a criticism of the Jewish people – that they
complained. The question presents itself: What’s so wrong about complaining
that you’ve had no water for three days? In fact, you’re in a dangerous situation.
You should complain. Explains Rashi, the Torah’s criticism is not so much
THAT they complained but rather HOW they complained. They did not speak
respectfully to Moshe Rabbeinu and say, “Please Moshe, pray to G-d on our
behalf that we should be given water.” Instead, it was more like, “Hey, Moshe,
what’s going on here? Where’s our water?!”
The Torah is teaching us a great lesson about a part of life at which we often
fail, and that is that even if we are going through great challenges and stresses,
we still have an obligation to speak to people with respect. Your bad day is
your problem, not your friend’s, and certainly not your spouse’s. The Torah
demands refined speech even in challenging situations involving issues of health
or livelihood. Above all, we must always speak like a mentch because words are
holy and how you express yourself is the language of – and the window into –
your soul. Speech is your essence, and it speaks volumes about who you are.
So, you are angry or in a bad mood? That’s your headache. Don’t take it out on
someone else. Remember, it’s not what you say as much as how you say it.
Wishing you an inspiring Shabbos,
Rabbi Moshe Gruenstein

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