Shemah: Degel Machane Ephraim: To Speak in Torah
The 17th of Iyar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sadlikov, grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, author of Degel Machaneh Ephraim (1748-1800): I heard from my grandfather the Baal Shem Tov of blessed memory that there can be no uplifting of man, save through the leaders and the righteous of the generation. The righteous can elevate man’s character and his speech. There are two methods of this elevation:
There are those whom the righteous person elevates through his teachings of Torah and his prayers.
There are those whom he cannot raise except by means of casual conversation. This follows from the interpretation of our rabbis of the verse, “And whose leaf does not wither (Psalms 1:3),” his casual conversation, a mere “leaf,” has a purpose, does not “withher,” even though it appears to be only idle speech. For indeed, the righteous person elevates the person through these apparently idle words which he speaks with him.
Not everyone can prove himself worthy of this, as my grandfather said about the Mishnah: “She was seen talking to one (Ketubot 13a).”
Enough said. (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Ephraim; Degel Machne Ephraim: Metzorah)