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Kabbalistically speaking, nothing is more powerful than speaking. Take a look inside the "peh" and you'll see the "bet" of creation.

The Power of Peh

The Power of Peh

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The Power of Peh

Kabbalistically speaking, nothing is more powerful than speaking. Take a look inside the "peh" and you'll see the "bet" of creation.
Pey, Negative Speech, Word; Words

Jim McGinn always wanted a power saw. The day he got his first pay check, he spent it on one—a big, powerful power saw. It gave him a manly, burly, beer-on-your-chest sense of, well, power.

His power saw was built of shiny, hard and heavy metal. It pumped a dynamo of mechanical energy into his hands, so that he had to grip real tight. With it he made stuff, fixed stuff and broke stuff. He almost got hurt bad. And it made a big noise, too.

Words, on the other hand, are wimpy. No substance other than a puff of air. Can't cut through a thing. Can be spoken by a small child or a frail old lady, the softer the better.

Yet the world is not built of power saws. Or of power drills, hammers, bulldozers, computers or even rocket ships. It's made of words. Without words, all that stuff is just a pile of tin.

Like the rest of us who see the world from the inside-out, Jim McGinn's perception of the world is upside-down. The world we see is built of hard matter at the core with words and ideas gently sprinkled on the surface. Sticks, stones and power saws are real stuff, words are just a harmless way of talking about them.

Along comes Kabbalah, seeing things from their origin and beyond, and tells us that no, words are the core reality. Things exist only because there are words for them. Words are the ultimate power.

G‑d said, "Be light!" and it was light. "Be a sky!" and there was a sky. "We will make man!" and there was a man. And then He blew into the nostrils of this man the breath of life, as Onkelos translates: A speaking soul. A soul composed of speech, of words. "And whatever Adam called each creature, that was its name."

Ever since, Adam has gone around making more and more names for G‑d's things, composing stories out of His music and dramas with His creations. He created a world out of words, and we bring it into focus, direct it, manipulate and mold it with our words. Our words make His words real.

Speak good things. Make a beautiful resolution out of this world.

Written and conceived by Tzvi Freeman. Rabbi Freeman is available for public speaking and workshops. Read more on his bio page.
Music by The Piamentas
Rabbi Infinity played by Andrew Torres
Animation and SFX by Pilar Newton of Pilar Toons
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Samuel Fuzhou, China May 31, 2009

Amazing. Good way to think about people we are not so fond of ~ Reply

Doris Romania May 30, 2009

Thank you so much! Thanks for this short but very meaningful explanation! I've never thought about it like that. I'll share it with the kids. Reply

Menachem Kovacs Baltimore, Md May 25, 2009

more pls why davka Peh? What word does it stand for?
Thank you. Reply

Rabbi Infinity May 24, 2009

Re: more pls The Bet is explained right here in KabbalaToons as the wisdom with which the world is made. The source for this explanation here is Sefer Ha-erchin Chabad, ot bet. Reply

Menachem Kovacs Baltimore, Md May 24, 2009

more pls on Beit inside Peh What is the meaning of that Beit & source pls?
Thank you. Reply

Rabbi Infinity Thornhill, Canada May 22, 2009

Re: why... Yes, but not in all versions of the Peh. It depends on the tradition by which the scribe writes. Reply

Joy St Petersburg, Florida May 22, 2009

Peh= mouth I never would have seen Beit inside of the Peh. Thank You. Reply

Wyman Brent Vilnius, Lithuania May 21, 2009

words It is true that the words which come out of our mouths can both build up and bring down. However, for words to be truly effective, it is necessary to back them up with action. Everyone knows the phrase, it is the thought that counts. The fact is that good thoughts alone do not build bridges or place new synagogues. The thought of how nice it is to help others is not the same as actually doing the deed. Daily I receive emails from people around the world telling me how much they appreciate the effort to create the Vilnius Jewish Library.

The words of praise do help keep me strong during this most difficult work. However, words alone will not buy one book which can enrich Jewish culture in the Jerusalem of Lithuania. Words alone do not provide a dime of support as I struggle to meet the financial challenges. Remember that good words can make someone's day but they can't build bridges or synagogues or libraries.

Wyman Brent
shammes
Vilnius Jewish Library Reply

Menachem Kovacs Baltimore, Md May 20, 2009

why... is it davka the letter Beit that is inside the Peh?
Thank you. Reply

Rachel Garber Phila, PA USA May 19, 2009

Words that hurt, words that heal When I was growing up, I would hear the phrase, "sticks and stones may break by bones, but words can never hurt me" When I was growing up, my mother constantly referred to me as "dummy", I internalized that, and for decades, believed that to be true. Today we are seeing the effects of words. Recently a child hung himself, the reason, kids in school called him homosexual, he never indicated that he was homosexual, and his mother doesn't know if he was homosexual, and now can't ask, because he is dead. A teenage girl recently killed herself because the mother of a classmate began stalking her on the Internet (written words) pretending she was another student. She sent the girl numerous taunting e-mails. Why didn't these kids tell their parents, because they also know that if adults are involved, the "words" will escalate. How sad, and how vile. Reply

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