The headlines scream, "Madoff's latest victim" and indeed it is. Just hours ago we read how Mark, the married father of two children, hanged himself in his apartment while his baby slept in another room.

I can't imagine how desperate, despondent and hopeless this man could have felt to take his own life while his beloved two-year-old baby was there. Wasn't he concerned that his son could have woken up and found him? He did email his wife, who was out of town with his older child, alerting her that someone should check on the baby, but what if she hadn't seen that email for a number of hours? I simply find it incomprehensible. But then again, desperation usually leads to incomprehensible outcomes.

Suicide is always tragic. It is always heart wrenching. And it is ultimately a punishment not to the one who felt he didn't deserve to live, but for all those survivors who have to suffer with the guilt, the "what-ifs" and the lack of closure from such a loss.

But this particular suicide does not seem like it was an indirect punishment to those closest to him, but rather a very calculated one. By no means do I think it was coincidental that Madoff's son took his life two years to the day that his father was arrested for the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.

Mark Madoff's lawyer came out with the following statement following the confirmation of suicide:

"Mark was an innocent victim of his father's monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo," said Martin Flumenbaum, an attorney representing Mark and his brother Andrew.

I don't know about you, but I don't know anything about Mark Madoff. But I do know that just because his father was a corrupt, dishonest and immoral person, does not make his son one. And I also know that the anger, bitterness and hatred that must have been directed at the eldest son of such a character could not have been easy to live with. Clearly, Mark felt it was impossible to live with it.

Judaism recognizes the power of speech, both in terms of building a person up and likewise, in its ability to completely destroy. In Proverbs it states: Mavet v'chayim beyad halashon, "Life and death are in the hands of one's speech," (18:21). This is why there are numerous laws dedicated to shmirat halashon, guarding one's speech. Even more so, the commentaries explain that to publicly humiliate a person is akin to killing that person. For when someone loses their self respect to the extent that he or she cannot face others, that is likened to taking away that person's lifeline.

It was just a few weeks ago that we read in the Torah portion, Vayeshev, of the story of Yehuda and Tamar. Tamar was about to be executed for a crime she didn't even commit. She could have exonerated herself, but in doing so it would have caused grave humiliation to Yehuda. So instead she gave him the opportunity to speak up for himself. From this the Talmud explains that one should go to great extents to avoid embarrassing another.

Another case in which a woman taught us this lesson was with Rachel who was to be married to Jacob. Her corrupt father tried to switch her older sister, Leah, for the bride. Knowing this could happen, Rachel and her groom came up with special signs so that he would know if he was marrying the right woman. But Rachel couldn't go through with it. She couldn't put her sister through the utter humiliation of being detected under the major canopy. It wasn't Leah's plan to marry Jacob, it was her father's, so why should she have to suffer being found out? Rachel knew that embarrassing her sister like that that was tantamount to killing her. And so she had the self sacrifice to preserve her self respect, her life.

Mark Madoff turned his father in. He was never accused of any crime, nor has there been any proof that he was complicit or aware of his father's actions. And yet, time and time again he was brutally accused and blamed in the media. He was an easy target. His father clearly didn't care who he hurt or the pain he caused. His father is sitting in prison and doesn't need to face all those whose lives he destroyed. But Mark had to live out his father's true punishment; the day to day anger and rage that his father caused so many.

Bernie Madoff was certainly punished today. He lost his eldest son and regardless of how cold and callous he has been, there is no question that the deep pain and void will be overwhelming. But did anyone win? Is anyone satisfied? Did anyone want two little children to grow up without a father and for the youngest to one day realize he was in the next room when his father took his life? That this boy will always wonder how he was not enough to keep his father alive?

There is no question that every person, reporter, source or writer that lashed out against Mark Madoff was furious. But was Mark Madoff really the target? Was he the one deserving of those comments? We have a judicial system for a reason. And it is predicated on the concept that one is innocent until proven guilty. Not guilty until he can prove his innocence. And even when guilty, it is the court that decides the punishment, not the public.

Yet in today's day and age we don't need to wait for the courtroom to decide one's verdict. Through the blogsphere, social networking, email and web news we can pass judgment and give a life sentence in seconds. It doesn't take long for a rumor to spread. And yet, it can take a lifetime for the truth to come out and give someone back the dignity deserved.

According to the Torah commentaries, the distinguishing difference between us and animals is that we have the ability to speak. Human beings are called a "medaber" a speaker, for our speech allows us to share our innermost thoughts and feelings with another. Only through speech are we able to connect. Yet we must never forget how powerful our words are and the impact they can have.

Unfortunately, it seems that it was the misuse of speech that caused unending and unyielding pressure on Mark Madoff. Our words became the judge, jury and verdict. And today unfortunately, we unknowingly and unwillingly gave him a death sentence.