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    Two ways of speaking – Emor

    The verb that gives its name to the portion we read this Shabbat is emor, “say”. Generally the Torah uses the word dabber, “speak”.

    In English we tend to think the two words are interchangeable, but that is an unwarranted conclusion. Actually, saying is softer and gentler than speaking, which is more peremptory and authoritarian.

    In line with the notion of Kohelet (Chapter 4), there is a time for everything, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to rejoice and a time to lament. There is a time to say things gently and a time to speak unhesitatingly.

    Being gentle is loving and persuasive; being tough is unequivocal and leaves no room for misunderstanding.

    The rabbinic sages tell us that emor is a womanly verb whilst dabber is more masculine.

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