One of the merits that the Jews had to be freed from slavery in Egypt was that they kept their own customs, including their own language. While on the surface that means they spoke Hebrew (as it was spoken then), a broader understanding could be that they spoke the way a Jew is supposed to speak, with the ethical and halachic rules and nuances as well.

Here are 9 examples of “Jewspeak,” as dictated by the Torah.

1. Mentioning G‑d.

When someone is asked how they are, they invariably answer: Thank G‑d. Jews habitually thank G‑d for the good in our lives (even if we sometimes say it accompanied by a sigh). When we speak of the future, we say, im yirtze Hashem (“G‑d willing”) because we know that the future is also dependent on Him.

2. Not taking an oath.

Taking an oath is a very serious thing; in a civil court of law, we affirm our remarks but do not swear by them. While we have to be very careful not to swear, this also involves not making promises. We can’t be sure that we will in fact be able to fulfill our plans, so a priori we avoid making promises that we may not be able to keep.

3. Not gossiping.

Any kind of speech that can in any way cause damage to another person—slander, bad-mouthing and bad publicity are all forbidden. The damage that can be done can spiral out of control and cause a loss of health, money, reputation, career, spouse and even life. There are more than 30 separate commandments governing evil speech, emphasizing that we must be exceedingly careful with our words at all times.

4. Purifying our speech.

Swearing or using any kind of profane language is forbidden in Judaism. G‑d gave us (humans) the gift of speech, and we are not to sully the tools we use to communicate, with vulgarity or offensive words.

5. Keeping our speech positive.

Compliments, gratitude and words of praise are all the language of the Jew. Long before life coaches were espousing the good energy created by affirmations and positive talk, the Jewish people were called “Yehudim” from the word yehudi, which literally means “one who gives thanks.”

6. Keeping far from falsehood.

It isn’t enough not to lie. One must be impeccable in their speech so that it isn’t even close to being a lie.

7. Not causing anyone pain.

We may not remind people of their past misdeeds, insult someone, tease them, bully them, threaten them or in any way use words to cause them pain or anguish. Even hinting at something that might cause them pain is not allowed. This is especially true when speaking to someone vulnerable, like a widow or an orphan (and the rest of us are pretty vulnerable as well). One must not cause pain even with words that would otherwise seem innocuous.

8. Speaking respectfully.

There is a special mitzvah to respect elders, parents, rabbis and teachers in speech as well as in deed; addressing them by their title and speaking patiently, with respect and with humility.

9. Praying and studying Torah.

Jews are always communing with G‑d. There is a midrash that a person’s words are numbered with the exception of the ones they use to pray and study Torah. There are so many elevated, spiritual ideas to discuss that we are not meant to waste words on mundane things. When we use our speech for holy pursuits, it can never diminish us or get us into trouble.

And that’s really saying something.