The Best and the Worst…writes Rabbi Michoel Gourarie

May 5, 2017 by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
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The Midrash relates the following story about a great Talmudic sage.

Rabbi Michoel Gourarie

Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel said to his servant Tovi: “Go and buy me the best piece of meat in the market.”

He went and came back with tongue.

He then said to him: “Go out and buy me the worst piece.”

He went and again came back with tongue.

Rabbi Shimon asked for an explanation

He replied: “When it is good, it is very good and when it is bad it is terrible.”

 The lesson from this story is simple but powerful.

The tongue is a symbol of speech. Communication is the most powerful tool that a human being has. It connects us to others, strengthens our relationships, allows us to share ideas and inspiration, clears up misunderstandings and provides the ability to express deep emotion.

But here is the warning. Words are very rarely, if ever, neutral. When it is not constructive or beneficial, the way we talk and use the tool of communication can be detrimental and destructive.

Words can build those around us but they can be hurtful and leave permanent scars. Communication can nurture relationships but can also destroy them. It can unite us or cause division. Speech can express love or promote hate.

Our tongue is the greatest gift that G-d gave us. It is up to us to ensure that it’s the best and not the worst.


One Response to “The Best and the Worst…writes Rabbi Michoel Gourarie”
  1. Roy Sims says:

    Rabbi Gourarie,

    A prominent member of the Jewish community about 2,000 years ago penned the following.

    “Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.
    Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.
    Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
    And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
    For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.
    But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
    With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.
    Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”
    You are in good company!!

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