Monday, October 16, 2006

Recoiling In My Dreams

Back in 2001, I read Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis's book "The Committed Life". In one chapter she wrote:

"Do you want your children to hear foul language from your lips? Do you want your home to be a place where shouts and curses are daily fare? And should you argue that you wouldn't curse in front of your children, you should know that you're kidding yourself. You just can't turn it on and off like that. No one can."

These words really gave me pause and made me resolve to stop using profanity. I was able to rid my vocabulary of these objectionable words by fining myself $20 every time I swore. After two or three slip-ups, I quickly learned that I needed to think before I spoke. I then slowly weeded out other words from my vocabulary in favor of more refined ones; replacing "hate" with "dislike", "crazy" with "ridiculous", "stupid" with "silly" or "nonsensical", and in certain cases "love" with "enjoy" in order to use the word correctly.

Interestingly, even though it has been five years since I have used profanity, I occasionally swear in my dreams and then immediately recoil at my use of such words.

I continue to be amazed how words become embedded in our subconscious despite the fact that we never use them anymore.

Afterthought: The word "coincidence" should not exist in the vocabulary of a chassid.


At October 16, 2006 at 11:55:00 AM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Indeed, that is a great book, on many levels. The idea of replacing words reminded me of something that was written about Rabbi Dessler’s (Mechtav M’Eliyahu-Strive for Truth) wife. In the Artscroll Bio about Rav Dessler there is a story that their children would come in from playing outside and say, “Mommy, I’md dirty.” Rebbitzen Dessler would say, “Don’t say “dirty”, say “not clean”.

At October 16, 2006 at 12:01:00 PM EDT, Blogger ilan said...

"Afterthought: The word "coincidence" should not exist in the vocabulary of a chassid."

Once when i was waiting to see the Kalover Rebbe Shlita, i was talking whit a Satmar Hassid. He tell me a great chidush: in lashon hakodesh coincidence = Mikre - if you change the word then you have RaK MeHashem

At October 16, 2006 at 1:16:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Neil & Ilan: Thanks for sharing those!

At October 16, 2006 at 4:10:00 PM EDT, Blogger Mottel said...

When speaking to Reb Volf Greenglass (one of Ziknei Anash and a Mashpia in Montreal) I told him once that I felt sick, he corrected me "'Not well', not 'sick'".
We see the importance of being careful with our speech in other other cases as well (besides those mentioned in Chazal) Chassidim would say go in [the] water instead of mikvah!

At October 16, 2006 at 4:46:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Neshama said...

How were you able to stop your mind before reaching your lips? This training must start in infancy to succeed. Are you doing this with the little ones? This also works in the inyan of superfluous 'comments'.

I find that squeezing my lips together in silence is what saves me. However, I also gave reshus to my husband to alert me (softly) when I am not successful.

At October 17, 2006 at 6:39:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Mottel: Why waters instead of mikvah?

Neshama: Once I started working on it, even the thought of the word would almost send an electric current through me to tell me to stop.

As for your second question, I am trying.

At October 18, 2006 at 12:16:00 AM EDT, Blogger Mottel said...

It's a cleaner, as it were, way of saying it.
Though after looking on chabadtalk it seems to be not so poshut (forum/showthread.php3?t=4456).


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