The Mekubalim teach that there is a deep connection between the heart and the mouth, emotion and the capacity of speech – the internal and external aspects of communication. Without delving into the Kabbalistic nature of this connection (Binah and Malchus, Hei Illa’ah and Hei Tata’ah; the element of the soul associated with speech, Ruach, is sourced in the heart etc.), the heart/emotion is the life force which brings speech to life. When the channels between emotion and speech are open, one’s words are imbued with feeling, meaning, truth, and intent. However, as the verse states, “He has honored Me with his lips, but his heart was far from Me”; when a person’s speech is disconnected from his true feelings, it lacks the vitality of meaning and truth.

The Degel Machaneh Ephraim teaches that the word “Peh”, mouth, is numerically equivalent to “Elokim”, the divine Name associated with severity and harsh-judgment. When one ensures that his words are a clear reflection of the truth he holds in his heart, a truth which derives from the totality of his identity, this sweetens the judgments of the mouth and rectifies all severity in one’s life. However, when, in speaking falsehood, one separates the mouth from the heart, this can ch”v brings negativity and judgment upon the person.

 In this week’s parsha, the verse states: “U’lchol b’nei Yisrael, lo yechratz kelev leshono”, “But no dog shall snarl at the Jews…” This pasuk points to the tremendous energy of Chessed upon which the exodus from Egypt was founded. Not only did the Jews merit redemption, even the dogs did not bark at them. The Degel explains that this Chessed was triggered by the rectification affected by the Jews’ aligning their speech with their innermost feelings. Pushed to the very limits of their humanity, the Jews had “cried out” to Hashem with utmost sincerity, feeling, and truth. Although, as all the tzaddikim teach, the exile in Mitzrayim was associated with “galus hadibbur”, the disassociation of speech and heart, the redemption reflected the rejoining of those two elements. This brought about the ultimate “sweetening of the judgments” and triggered their ultimate triumph.

The Degel sees this deep idea hinted in this very pasuk itself. Because the Torah is written without any nekudos-vowels, we are given the opportunity of altering those nekudos for the purpose of derash. By changing the word “kelev”, “dog”, to “k’lev”, “like the heart”, it is possible to read the verse in the following manner: “Ulchol b’nei Yisrael lo yechratz”: And the entirety of the Jewish nation experienced no fright (represented by the barking of dogs), because “k’lev leshonam”: they had made a unification between the capacity of speech and the emotions of their heart, speaking words of truth and the deepest sincerity.

The secret of redemption abide within the unification between heart and mouth; speech that is founded upon truth, feeling, and the deepest sincerity.

Rebbe Ephraim of Sudlykov
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R’ Yaakov Klein is the founder of the Lost Princess Initiative, an author, musician, and lecturer devoted to sharing the inner light of Torah through his books, music, and lectures.

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