Actions speak louder than words
TorahParshat Naso

Actions speak louder than words

Numbers 4:21 – 7:89

Public speakers can be a big problem.

There is nothing wrong with them, per se. On the contrary, some have the ability to inspire tens, hundreds and even thousands of people solely with their words of wisdom and guidance.

But that can also create a problem. They speak and speak and speak. Their audiences get excited, they get even more excited, and it just gets better and better. But then they leave and go home, back to reality.

Talk is cheap, as they say. If nothing is done to firmly ground and solidify the inspiration into concrete action, then it quickly floats away.
Just a couple of days ago, on the holiday of Shavuot, the Ten Commandments were read in shul. These commandments focus on big ideas. True monotheism is a tremendous principle, as is the rejection of idolatry or any thought that there is anything that has control besides G-d. This is huge, lofty stuff that the biggest thinkers grapple with.

But G-d is not in the business of public speaking. He wants the inspiration, the fire and the intensity to all be channeled into practical, positive action.

This is clearly seen in the “not so big” commandments which G-d spoke to every single Jew at Mount Sinai. Your parents? Be nice to them. Respect them. Do what they ask. That guy you absolutely can’t stand, the one who vehemently disagrees with your perspectives? Don’t harm or kill him.
Maybe you left shul this week on a high — maybe even just a little bit. But don’t make G-d into a public speaker. Take whatever inspiration you received and drive it into an actionable mitzvah. And if you already do lots of mitzvos — great! Don’t be satisfied with that; the more the merrier.

As Maimonides writes, one should view the world as a perfect balance of good and the opposite, and your “little” mitzvah has the power to tip the scales and bring redemption to the entire universe. PJC

Rabbi Dovie Kivman is the executive director of Chabad of Erie County. This column is a service of the Vaad Harabonim of Greater Pittsburgh.

read more: