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Acharei - video sermon

I feel very fortunate to live in a country where people can speak freely and love having the opportunity to contribute to the diversity of voices at the BBC. But there must be limits to what free speech is. Campus protests at my colleagues' universities in the US have crossed the line. Where is the line? I have a high bar - rabbis get that perogative, right?!

I think free speech must come from a place of seeking healing; from a productive rather than destructive place.

At the start of this week's parasha, Hashem speaks to Moshe (vayedaber) before immediately picking up by giving him instructions (vayomer). While the linguistic difference between these two words for speech is hard to make consistent, even for our commentators, I read them as two separate conversations, the first of which is Hashem visiting Moshe in the wake of his own loss - of his two nephews. Words can heal.

Words, of course, can also harm. Next week, we'll be cautioned against cursing the deaf. Even when cruel and unproductive words seem harmless, they are not.

Words harm and words heal. Let's use our words wisely.



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