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The Power of Speech & Silence

The Torah writes that when G-d created man he became: "נפש חיה" – a living soul, which Rashi explains means: the ability of speech, and that is what makes him different from animals. It is with this power that man can relate to others and build a human society.

This strength is not only used for interpersonal relationships but also as a tool to connect to Hashem through the medium of Tefilah, Viduy and learning Torah. And it could also ח"ו be used in a negative way: causing strife, Lashan Hara etc. which rips apart the fabric of human society.

However the Gemara in Chulin says that the expertise of a person in this world is his ability to stay silent! If so how do these two fit together?
The answer is that in order for speech to be effective depends on if a person knows when to keep quite. If we always are speaking, the words become cheapened and less in value. But the person that weighs out his words and is not so quick to speak, when he actually does say something the impact is much greater.

How true is this in relation to our children. One of the key factors in chinuch is working out the balance when it is important to say something, and when it is important to keep to the saying of the Rabbis: לא מצאתי טוב משתיקה – I didn't find anything better than silence.


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