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by Reb Mordechai Rosen z"l
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What does Hashem Elokecha ask from you, but to fear Hashem Elokecha and to walk in His ways? (Devorim, Perek Yud, Pasuk Yud Gimmel)
It is not a coincidence that the Shabbos on which we are Mevorach the month of Tammuz we read Parshas Shelach - the Parsha of the Lashon Hara of the Meraglim. And it is not coincidental that the next few parshiyot in the month are also ones that relate to speech and machlokes. The next Parsha is Korach that tells of the machlokes between Moshe and Korach and his followers that ended with so many dead. This is followed by the death of Miriam in Parshat Chukat and the incident at May Merivah. This is followed by Parshas Balak in which Bilam tries to bring about the destruction of Klal Yisrael by cursing them.
Rashi tells us that "Ayin Yeshuasem L'Am HaZeh Elah B'Peh" - our only salvation lies in the mouth - Bilam knew this and tried to use the Peh to bring about our destruction.
We follow this with the Parshiyot of Matos and Masei that discuss Niddarim and the power of the word. And we end with the Shabbos before Tisha B'Av - the Parsha that is called words - Devarim. The Peh -the mouth - can be used in the Lashon of life or death. It is not a coincidence that these Parshiyot all come out during the month of Tammuz leading up to the 9th of Av. We must always remember that life and death is in the power of the mouth
At the beginning of davening we say "Hashem Sifsai Tiftach" - Hashem should open our mouths with Tefillah and at the end we say "Nitzor L'Shoni Merah" - guard my tongue from evil. We must never forget the power that our mouths have over our lives and we must always use the Peh for good.
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