I had a woman come to me this past month for a massage. She’s been going out on dates for over a decade: looking, wanting, hoping to get married. As I worked on her I took a chance, I opened my mouth, and you know what I told her? I told her that she was beautiful, desirable and attractive. I told her that I could see her standing under the wedding canopy with her husband. I told each one of her muscles and limbs, all the parts of her body that have given up, that the search was nearing its end. I told her to envision herself in a white flowing gown. She listened, in silence.

“Tell yourself that you are going to get married.”

“I can’t.”

“What do you mean you can’t? Of course you can. I know you can. You will.”“What do you mean you can’t? Of course you can. I know you can. You will.”

“You really think that I will?”


Before she left, I asked her for her Hebrew name so that I could pray for her, and I told her to call me when I should change my prayers from finding her soulmate to peace in the home. She just called me. She’s a bride. Over a decade of searching—he’s found.

When I was a little girl, my Bubbie (grandmother) would never say bad things out loud. If she had to say that, G‑d forbid, someone had an illness, she would whisper it. I was thought that this custom was one of those silly things that old ladies do—you know, a bubbe maise. Then I read something that is written by written by a famous rabbi, the Rema (Rabbi Moshe Isserles of Cracow, 1525–1572), which changed my thinking. He writes in the Codified Book of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De’ah 376) that one should not say something that could create a negative reality.

A person should not speak about events that he does not wish to transpire, such as disasters and catastrophes, as words have the power to cause these misfortunes to happen. The sages teach, “Berit kerutah lasefatayim”—there is a “covenant” made with the lips whereby they have power to cause that which they speak about. The word dibbur (“speech”) is derived from davar, which means both “word” and “thing.” Speech creates things. It has substance and force, and therefore we must use it with great caution. If a person must be careful to refrain from saying negative things, all the more so should a person be careful to say positive things, so that these things willhappen.

Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, is also called the Day of Judgment. Every human being passes before the King of Kings, G‑d, and his actions throughout the year are judged. What’s interesting in that unlike Yom Kippur, which is the Day of Atonement, there is no verbal confession of sin in the prayer service. Not one time do we mention our wrongdoings or ask for forgiveness on this awesome day. Why? Because on this Day of Judgment our words have a powerful effect, and our prayers have the strength to transform.

Remember those times, and know that this connection is what our hearts truly desireOn this day, our only obligation is to make G‑d our King. We tell Him: “You are our Father, You are our King. Remember us as Your children. Think of us as good. Let good come forth from our lips, and we will do good.” We mention the righteous acts of our forefathers. We tell G‑d, “Don’t forget that we are the children of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob. Don’t forget what they did to prove to You their loyalty and love for You. Don’t forget the promise that You made to them—that their offspring would forever be Your chosen people.”

We blow the shofar. In silence we stand, and the voice of the shofar pierces our hearts. We hear the shofar, whose name has the same root as the word (mei) shafir, which is the fluid that protects and nourishes the baby in the mother’s womb. It cries out, “G‑d, let us connect to You. Bring us back to You, to when we were one with You. Remember those times and know that this connection is what our hearts truly desire. Let our desire come forth from our lips in prayers, and let our prayer become tangible. Let us say good things, and good things will happen!”

Every day, but even more so on Rosh Hashanah, we speak positively. We don’t get frustrated and angry with our stubborn, defiant child, but instead we tell him, “You have such tremendous strength and ambition. You are going to be a great and noble leader!” And it will be so. You tell the spacey, passive child, “You are so easygoing and flexible. People always enjoy being around you.” And it will be so. Don’t hold back with good. Never tell the lazy one that he is lazy. Instead, bless him in a loud voice that he should be hardworking. To the difficult one, tell him that he is sweet.

Tell the unemployed that they will find a good job. Tell the single that they will find their spouse, the homeless that they will find their home, the childless that they will have children. These are not lies. We create reality through our speech. And then we pray that our words will come to fruition.

Dip the apple in the honey, turn to our Creator, the King of Kings, and say, “Let this be a sweet and good year.” And, with G‑d’s help, it will be.