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Parashat Shelah – Words of the Wise


In the Parasha this week, the greatest rebellion against Moshe’s leadership was gaining strength when Caleb abruptly quieted the people down and spoke his uplifting words of encouragement to enter the land of Israel.

King Solomon, the wisest and most powerful man of his time, counseled, ”The words of the wise are heard with pleasantness.”

If we have something to say, the message will be adequately conveyed in a soft tone because the content alone will carry it. Only when our words have little substance do we seek to make an impression by delivering them in a loud voice.

The Talmud states that on Friday afternoon a person must alert his household to prepare the necessities for Shabbat. However, he must do so in a soft voice so that his words will be heard. As it often happens late Friday afternoon, people feel themselves under pressure while rushing to prepare for Shabbat. Some people mistakenly think that it’s okay to lose composure and raise their voice for a good cause. The Torah cautions against doing so and raising one’s voice in anger is not the way of the wise.

~Rabbi Shaul