Written by AJA Shlichim Galia Magen
This week׳s Parsha, parshat Devarim, teaches us a valuable lesson in the power and impact of our words on each other.
In the beginning of the parsha it says,”These are the words which Moshe spoke to all of Bnai Yisrael on that side of the Jordan in the desert, in the plain opposite the Red Sea, between Paran and Tofel and Lavan and Hazeroth and adi Zahav.” Why is it necessary to list the places Bnei Yisrael had been?
Rashi explains one reason for this long list of places. These were all places the Bnei Yisrael had sinned and rather than listing their sins, Moshe alludes to them by where those sins happened. This is just enough information for Bnei Yisrael to understand the significance of each place. Moshe did this out of respect for Bnei Yisrael. While meant as words of rebuke, Moshe honors Bnei Yisrael by just alluding to the sins by where they occurred rather than actually describing each sin.
Moshe loved Bnei Yisrael immensely and his actions and words teach us that constructive criticism should always come from real concern and understanding and be done gently so as not to embarrass anyone.
This week, as we mark Tisha b'av, and the destruction of both Temples, we are reminded by Moshe’s careful language and love of Bnei Yisrael of the power of caring for one another and helping each other.