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One speaks negatively of others when one feels insecure or inferior. One subverts others to raise oneself up in one’s own mind. When we are confident and feel we have “nothing to defend,” there is no need to put another down. Positive thought leads to positive speech which is aligned with love and the high vibrational state of blessing. Negative speech is fear-based and is aligned with the Amygdala, the organ in our brains associated with “fight or flight.” Books on emotional intelligence are based upon modern studies of the brain detailing how the brain acts and reacts to fear and anger. The Amygdala, although as small as an almond, has a great effect upon us because its neural pathways are super fast as compared to the speed of neurons in our frontal cortex, the center of logic and reason. With practice, we can learn to handle this speed properly. What has become clear from modern studies of the brain is that we can control our emotions and our thoughts. Our brains are fantastically plastic and can adopt new behavior patterns. Like our muscles, our brains will grow stronger as we continually train them.

Much depends on our focus. If one were to play baseball and come to bat repeatedly thinking, “I must not strike out,” one will likely strike out! The batter is focusing on what he must not do rather than on hitting the ball. For millennia, we Jews have been focusing on not speaking lashon hara and, as a result, like the batter, we have struck out.


Our new focus must be upon lashon tova! Lashon tova is a state of mind. It’s a way of perceiving life and the world, of seeing people in a good light and even one’s own aches and pains as positive. We must prevent negative energy from attaching to us and seek and attach ourselves to positive energy and radiate it to others.

One hundred times a day we reinforce positivity by saying blessings. All of our brachot express gratitude and positivity. Appreciation is even expressed for the most mundane of acts. Blessings direct us to focus on gratefulness and appreciation. Our new path should be to learn the laws of lashon tova and dig deeper to find motivation to fulfill this mitzvah. Many immediate positive changes in our life take place when we assume a positive outlook; we no longer blame others and take back our personal power. We find greater hope, particularly during difficult times. We are more enjoyable to be around and we can bring healing to others. G-d only spoke to Yaakov Avinu when he was joyous; we are more spiritually open for blessing when we have a joyous outlook.

When we appreciate what is at stake, we will conclude that a momentary pleasure of speaking negatively or creating unnecessary conflict is simply not worth it. Like a ball thrown against the wall, lashon hara will come back at us with the same energy with which we sent it out. When you accept these truths, you will likely focus your mind on positivity. Let our hearts, minds and mouths be filled with lashon tova!


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Rabbi Donn Gross, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press’s Olam Yehudi magazine, is the rabbi and founder of Bet Dovid, Caldwell, New Jersey’s Orthodox shul. On Facebook he is known as The Health Rabbi. He received his semicha from Yeshivat Pirchei Shoshanim and has a degree in Jewish education from Yeshiva University where he also studied at the Belz School of Jewish Music. He can be reached at [email protected].