Judaism teaches that everything has the potential for holiness; after all everything in this world was created by G-d. But it is up to man to actualize that potential and imbue the world with holiness. Eating, marital relations, and earning a livelihood are not only a means to an end, but if done properly are acts that are instinctively holy and the fulfilment of a divine mitzvah. The physical and spiritual worlds are not meant to be in conflict but rather are meant to complement each other.
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.
Our Rabbis saw a link between the spiritual sin of lashon hara, slander and gossip, and the physical disease of tzara'at. At the dawn of redemption from Egypt , Moshe was afflicted with this disease for speaking negatively about the Jewish people: "But they will not believe me" (Shemot 4:1), he mistakenly claimed. Nation-building cannot take place when unsubstantiated, not to mention false, statements are made against fellow Jews.
The home plays a critical—if not the critical—role in the development of Jewish life. The efforts of schools, shuls, camps, Israel trips, and the like are unlikely to have major lasting impact if the messages of Jewish living are not reinforced at home. Passover, the holiday that laid the foundation for Jewish nationhood, is thus centred around the home. It is interesting to note that chapter twelve in Exodus, which describes the lead-up to the Exodus and our formation as a people, contains the word bayit (home) no less than twelve times.