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    Walkie talkies – Mattot

    They have them in every synagogue – people who can’t sit still but wander around throughout the service, having a chat with everyone they encounter.

    Someone called them walkie-talkies. They disturb everyone and leave nobody unscathed.

    One of their problems is hinted at in the Torah reading this week which talks about talk. It says that if you break a promise you have desecrated your word.

    But maybe that’s not the only way to read the relevant Torah verses (Num. 30). The Torah says, lo yachel d’varo, “he must not desecrate his word”, or – in other words! – “he shall not fritter away the gift of speech and waste words”.

    Speech is a precious Divine gift. Every creature can communicate; indeed according to the Psalmist even the rivers and brooks, the mountains and valleys, the trees and plants, have a form of speech.

    The important thing for humans to do is to accept that speech is sacred, and words should be carefully weighed and not wasted.

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