Dvar Torah Parshat Noah 5777 – Words Can Kill

Because Noach had saved the animals during the flood, Hashem gave permission for man to kill animals for human consumption. Simultaneously, a prohibition was given against spilling human blood. The Torah uses a strange phraseology in stating this prohibition. The Torah says: שֹׁפֵךְ דַּם הָאָדָם בָּאָדָם דָּמוֹ יִשָּׁפֵךְ, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed…’. (Gen. 9,6)

The Chafetz Chaim claims that this wording is the source for a certain Rabbinic statement. Chazal said: כל המלבין פני חבירו ברבים כאילו שופך דמים , “He who publically shames his neighbor is as if he shed blood.” (BM 58b) The Chafetz Chaim reads the verse thus: Whomever sheds the blood of man, בָּאָדָם, ‘in man’, it is as if he shed blood.

Before we speak publicly we must be extremely careful of what we say lest we hurt someone. At times we do not realize that our words embarrass somebody.

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