The power of the spoken word is enormous. Even more powerful is the desire to gossip, a vice that has been perfected in our own times, when we have people who earn their livelihood by providing the latest scoop of gossip. To state that Judaism demands restraint in speech would be to understate the case. Just a quick glance of the al chets said on Yom Kippur will reveal just how central is the theme of speech.
After reading through Sefer Breisheet and the sibling rivalry we encounter in generation after generation, it is a pleasure to come to Sefer Shemot and witness the beautiful sibling relationships between the children of Amram and Yocheved.
This week's devar Torah is dedicated in honour of the bat mitzvah of Temira Koenig. Mazal tov to her parents, Tali and Jason, and to the entire family. May Temira follow in the footsteps of Miriam, sanctifying the name of G-d in all that she does.
One of the causes for disappointment with the generation that left Egypt was their constant complaining. Each week, as we study Sefer Bamidbar, we witness another complaint, often more than one per week. Whether it's the food, the drinks, the leaders, the religious obligations, the long journey, or the dangers lurking, there is always something to complain about.