Honorable Mensch-ion

Keep It Simple

When my children order pasta in a restaurant, they want it plain: No sauce, no oil; simply a plate of noodles.

When the Torah describes Jacob, in comparison to his brother Esau, he is described as follows: Eesh tam, a simple man.

Rashi teaches that a simple person is not an expert, one whose heart is his mouth.

There is often a disconnect between our hearts and our mouths. We feel one way, but say another, or we utter words, but feel differently. The late 19th century Rabbi Chafetz Chayim, authored a book, A Lesson A Day, focusing on how we use our daily language. He emphasizes the prohibition of lashon hara but also includes the minutia when we should and must use rebuke to better ourselves and our society.

He wrote in a period without technology. There was no social media and there were no mobile phones. Today, we have options of how to communicate: Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok. And while we have a multitude of ways to use our words, we also have a plethora of ways to misuse our hearts. It is easy to hide behind a screen, a keyboard, and a text. It is difficult to put your heart before others and to say what we are feeling.

Eesh tam–a simple human being. In the complex world in which we live, let us strive for simplicity. That is Shabbat; not a disconnect from reality, but a return to simple, where hearts and mouths align.

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