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Menorat HaMaor Speech

The 27th of Adar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yitzchak Abuhab (Aboab), Kabbalist, Av Beis Din in Amsterdam (1605-1693). Born in in Castro Daire, Portugal, his family escaped the Inquisition in Portugal and settled in Amsterdam. His father, David, died when Yitzchak was only seven. In 1626, at the age of 21, he was nominated Chacham. In 1642, he migrated to Brazil. He returned to Amsterdam three years later after the war between the Portugese and Dutch. . He was a member of the court that excommunicated Espinoza. Ten years later (1666) he defended Shabtai Tzvi. Descendent of Rav Yitzchak Abuhab of Toledo, author of Menorah HaMaor, c1320). He was also a grandson of Rav Yitzchak Abuhab of Castille, among whose leading talmidim were Rav Shmuel Balansi (Valenci) and Rav Avraham Zacuto (Sacut), author of Sefer Yohassin. In 1492, he left Spain along with Rav Zacuto to Lisbon and died several months later.


Do not speak too much. As the book of Proverbs (10:19) rightly suggests, “one who holds one’s tongue acts wisely.” TheMenorat HaMaor suggests that a person should try to discipline himself not to speak too much so that he should not come to the point of uttering slander or indecent words and should not become a constant complainer. He should rather stress silence. Rabbi Joshua ben Levi once said: “A word is worth a sela [small coin], but silence is worth two.” (Leviticus Rabbah 16:5) then he changed his mind and practiced his art! Keep a civil tongue. The Menorat HaMaor also advises each person to try to keep a civil tongue in his head, whether he is engaged in the study of Torah or discussing affairs of the world. Especially learn to restrain your tongue when you are with a person who is in the heat of anger. Many people become enraged when provoked. It is better to wait for them to calmdown before trying to appease their anger.

The person who utters foul language commits a great transgression and becomes despised in the eyes of others, for that person has abandoned the traits of decency and modesty that are the distinguishing marks of his people Israel, and walks the path of an insolent and defiant person. (Menorat HaMaor, chap. on gossip)

A person should try to discipline himself not to speak too muchso that he should not come to the point of uttering lashon hara

or indecent words and should not become a chronic complainer.

He should, rather, stress silence. (Menorat HaMaor, chap. on gossip)


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