How many times have your parents, teachers or counselors told you: “Think before you act!”

The name of this week’s parshah, Korach, teaches us an important lesson about the power we have to think, speak and do. Thinking and speaking are connected. By talking, we let other people know our thoughts.

The next step is doing. But we shouldn’t just go ahead and do things. Before we act, we should stop and think again. By stopping to think, we check to make sure that we will do the right things.

Of course, we should think before we speak as well. But stopping to think before we act is even more important, because actions cannot easily be undone. If a slip of the tongue causes us to say the wrong thing to a friend, we can apologize and tell him we really didn’t mean it. But it’s much harder to undo something we have done. That’s why it’s so important to stop and think before we act.

We can imagine our three powers — thinking, talking and doing — as three lines. The hey (ה) is a Hebrew letter which has three lines. Its shape teaches us about thinking, talking, and doing.

In the hey, the top line and the line on the right are connected. They stand for thinking and talking. The line on the left stands for doing. There is a space between it and the other two lines. This teaches that while thinking and talking are connected, there should be a separation between them and doing.

The letter hey (ה) is connected to the letters in the name of this week’s parshah, Korach. Can you see how each letter in the word Korach (קרח), looks like a “wrong” hey? Indeed, Korach was all wrong.

In the kuf (ק), the line of action is much too long. This is like a person who is doing too much and thinking too little. He doesn’t have balance. The letter kuf looks like it might topple over, it’s so lopsided.

Can you guess what’s wrong with the reish (ר)? Of course! Standing on only one leg, its like a person who thinks and speaks, but never gets around to doing.

And the ches (ח) is missing that space between the line for thinking and the line for doing. This is like a person who doesn’t stop to think before he acts.

Everything we think, say, and do should help make this world a home for HaShem. And we can do that by remembering the shape of the letter hey and following the lessons it teaches us.

(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VIII, Parshas Korach;
Sichos Shabbos Parshas Korach,
5751)