Growing Each Day by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski

Tammuz 3
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Do not curse God (Exodus 22:27).

I frequently heard my father quote this verse and interpret it to mean, "A person with Godliness does not curse."

Few things were as absolutely forbidden in our home as uttering a curse. I know that my father was severely provoked many times, but even when angry, no malediction ever crossed his lips. He would tell us that when someone would provoke his mother beyond tolerance, she would say, "May he have soft bread and hard butter." That was the strongest curse Grandmother could utter, but from my father I never heard even that.

How often have we regretted harsh words that were spoken in rage? Such remarks may cause as much pain to the speaker as to the one to whom they are said.

Since we are vulnerable to rage, perhaps we would be wise to provide ourselves with an array of expressions that we can draw upon so that when we are provoked to fury, we will be able to discharge our emotions without being malevolent. One tried-and-true example? "May he have soft bread and hard butter."

Today I shall...

scrupulously avoid pronouncing a curse in anger, regardless of how furious I may be.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

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