The Fascinating Power Of Speech – How To Alter Reality

It’s amazing how little we understand about the power of speech we wield on a daily basis.

The power of speech is the cornerstone of human communication. It can be used to pray, tear down walls, elevate people, or bring a lot of destruction. Yet, many people fail to recognize the far reaching consequences of using it. The correct and conscious use of the power of speech is an imperative in Avodat Hashem, and it wasn’t for nothing that our great rabbis, in particular the Chofetz Chaim, elaborated a lot of guidelines concerning it.

Because people in control of their mouth wield great power, and the Tzaddikim are known have mastered this art. The examples are many. HaRav Kaduri Zt”L embodied the teaching that you should give out words as if you are giving out gold coins. HaRav Chaim Kanievsky is known to usually give 1 or 2 word responses to the queries posed to him.

Nowadays, many don’t really bother much with what they say, and don’t realise how speech can be a great source of blessing or curse. Senseless words are spewed by the eloquent in an attempt to flatter, cheat, steal or just promote themselves. These are among the people who will never behold the Shekhinah. Even merely speaking useless things can be damaging as we will see.

This is often the case because we sadly take the power of speech for granted.

Continue reading this article and we’ll explore a few questions such as:

  • Why the power of speech is so important
  • How speech can be damaging
  • How to be conscious when speaking
DALL·E 2024 01 10 13.51.49 Create a concept image depicting the power of speech in a harmonious and gentle manner similar to the previous images but with only men in the pictu

Why is the power of speech so important

There are mainly two ways of human communication as you probably have seen in this article.

One of them is verbal speech and the other is visual (non-verbal) speech. The former is much more important than the latter because it’s only through it that a person can gain basic understanding of the world. Visual, non-verbal speech, while also important and much more transcendental, requires that a person first satiates his mind with knowledge with which to unravel an image or even a smell.

Very interestingly, our sages in the Talmud condemn one who makes another deaf to pay his full “value” as a servant for life while one who blinds another is condemned to pay only the “value” of his eyes. This is because basic knowing can only be acquired through the ears. One who deprives another of his hearing has taken away all his ability to learn (if he wasn’t learned before).

Hashem created the world with speech. As creatures made in the “divine image”, we retain a measure of the power to create with speech as well. This is the rationale behind the teaching that “one who recites the korbanot in the morning is as if he had brought them to the Temple.”

As the only physical creatures that can use speech, this is one of the main aspects that separate us from animals. To misuse it is to lower oneself down to the level of animals. To properly use it means to elevate oneself to the level of angels or even higher.

There’s a time to speak and a time to keep quiet. Most of the times a person sins by speaking improperly as we shall see.

And, as it happens, being silent when words are in order is a sin in itself.

How the power of speech can be damaging

Though people don’t really care much about the words they use and how they use it, the fact is that they are of utmost importance because a person’s soul vests itself in them. If the word is dirty, hateful or improper, the soul will be contaminated. All speech cause a reverberation in the whole universe and even one wrong word can bring a lot of damage.

This is of course, not to mention the fact that words cause an immense impact in the spiritual worlds above. A misplaced word can cost a job, tear down a marriage, or even start a war.

Most of the laws Jews uphold about proper speech come from the great Chofetz Chaim, who wrote extensively on the subject and championed proper speech in his legendary Shmirat HaLashon.

To illustrate how one word out of context can be destructive, consider the following example:

A man “half-innocently” tries to give “constructive” advice on his wife’s weight. The wife obviously doesn’t take it the way he intended at all. She lets off a fake smile as if she appreciates the input but inside, she just died a thousand times. Feeling humiliated and cast away, she goes about her job trying not to pay too much attention to her husband’s remark.

However, the thought of rejection doesn’t let go of her.

As an accountant, she can’t focus on her job and, while preparing the company’s financial statements, she makes a minor mistake and sends it to the government. However, this minor mistake just happens to be a major breach on the financial standards to which all companies of that country must comply. Some time later, her mistake was taken as a financial fraud by the auditors and the company is investigated.

This might seem like an exaggeration, but it’s not too far off from reality. In the end, the woman can’t prove her innocence, her boss goes mad over the error, fires her and she takes away her stress at home, where it all began. This story could end here, but it can also go further:

The couple was already having serious marital problems and, as the wife vents out her stress at home, her husband gets mad at her for not understanding him, they fight some more and soon file for divorce.

The bottom line is:




power of speech

A single misplaced word can cause monumental damage. At the same time, a single proper word can change everything for better.

Suppose that, instead of saying the “truth”, the husband lies and says his wife is beautiful the way she is and that nobody can possibly notice her increase in weight. What would have happened?

What if everything was reversed? The wife goes to work happy, can focus, does her job nicely, the boss compliments and gives her a promotion, she comes back home joyous and decides to take some vacation to celebrate with her husband.

Is that too far off?

One may advocate: But shouldn’t we always tell the truth?

The answer is: No, at least not in the commonly accepted notion of truth by which many people hold.

First it’s important we know what truth really is.

Though not encouraged and often frowned upon, lying for the sake of promoting peace is sometimes required. Similarly lying for the sake of protecting someone else’s life is also mandatory. In this case, it’s not considered a lie, but rather a commitment to a higher truth to which the little “lie” is serving: saving lives override all halachot except idolatry, immorality and murder.

How to be conscious of speaking

I’m pretty sure everyone heard this before but, before speaking, a person must think twice whether his speech it’s really necessary. This is brought in many places, including the Mishne Torah, Taharat HaKodesh (by HaRav Aharon Roth) and others. Sadly, not many people take it to heart, so I’m reinforcing this.

You speak.

Not just that, put your consciousness in your words before speaking and intend to bring peace with them. Actively.

Many of the problems in our lives could often have been avoided merely by reducing the number of words that come out of our mouths. The power of speech goes beyond good and bad wording.

Our sages teach that every person has a limited amount of words to speak during his/her lifetime. After the limit is reached, that person inevitably must leave this world.

A common consideration to be done always before speaking is asking oneself:

“Is my speech good?”
“Is my speech true?”
“Is my speech better than my silence?”
“How can I phrase what I have to say in a better way?”

All these questions are great ways of maintaining mindfulness in all areas of life.

As King Solomon said: Life and death are given to the mouth.


Though the yetzer harah’s impulse is to waste words and cause destruction, there’s an active effort required to break this habit. While bad speech is often damaging, at times, silence can also bring a lot of pain.

Learning how to use words appropriately is an art. It might take time to master this art but anyone with enough willpower and sincerity can do it.

Don’t let the power of speech go to waste.

What do you think about speech? Leave your answers in the comments and share this article around if you enjoyed!

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Chaim Apsan

Chaim is a teacher and Kabbalah enthusiast. He loves helping Jews connect with true Torah teaching and enhancing their spiritual growth. With a focus on meditation, he guides individuals on transformative journeys of prayer, contemplation, and connection with Hashem. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and kids, and is committed to sharing the wisdom and power of Kabbalah in a genuine way.

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