On Tuesday night over 100 TDSP parents and other community members gathered in the multi-purpose room to hear Rabbi Ephraim Shapiro from Miami and take part in the launch of TDSP’s newest initiative, Project Triangle, a program that connects parents, children, and TDSP in learning the laws of Shmiras Halashon, pure speech.
TDSP Head of School Rabbi Aryeh Cohen opened the evening by noting that two weeks ago when we heard the terrible news of what happened in Eretz Yisroel, we were all motivated to help in a physical and spiritual way.
“Unfortunately, time has a way of weakening our resolutions,” said Rabbi Cohen. “But there are two ways to not let that happen. One is by constant Chizuk, words of inspiration, and the other is to do something tangible to keep us on track.”
The launch on Tuesday night combined both of Rabbi Cohen’s prescriptions. It was a night of inspiration for all those who attended (and those watching the live-stream), and it was also the start of a tangible purpose-driven initiative that will help the TDSP community learn together and improve their speech in the merit of those suffering and fighting for us in Eretz Yisroel.
Rabbi Shapiro, who is a world-renowned lecturer for the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation and the Rav of Kehilas Shaaray Tefilah in North Miami Beach, noted that 50 years ago the attacks starting the Yom Kippur occurred on our holiest day of Tefila, and these attacks happened on Simchas Torah, our holiest day of connection to the Torah.
“Being mechazek (strengthening) our tefilla and learning (as we are now called to do) has everything to do with our mouth,” said Rabbi Shapiro. “How can it be that the same mouth that davens and learns Torah is the same mouth that harms people?”
“By working on your Shmiras Halashon, you now have a mouth that is pure enabling your tefilos and your torah learning to help Klal Yisroel.”
Rabbi Shapiro explained that the root of Machlokes, conflict, is the word chelek, or part.
“When you only focus on part of the person, there will always be machlokes,” said Rabbi Shapiro.
“But the root of Shalom is Shaleim- whole. We have to look at the entirety of a person. Shalom Aleichem means my shlaimos (completion) and my becoming better is Aleichem- dependent on you. We need each other. When you focus on Shaleim (wholeness), it brings Shalom.”
Rabbi Shapiro also exhorted the crowd to “not underpay or overcharge” when it comes to words.
“Overcharging means you spoke when you should have kept quiet. Underpaying means you were quiet when you needed to speak up.”
Speaking up means validating and noticing those around you, and reaching out and connecting with them.
“Everybody needs validation,” said Rabbi Shapiro.
To close out the evening, TDSP Program Director Rabbi Ezi Vann introduced Project Triangle, a program where TDSP families can work together with their children and the school to improve their speech.
Each Torah Day School family will receive a copy of the English sefer, “Learning Hilchos Lashon Hora in just Three Minutes a Day” by Rabbi Daniel Braude. These books were given out at the event in beautiful gift bags.
Included in the gift bag is a chart and stickers. Families can set aside three minutes three times a week for the remainder of the school year to learn the laws together and mark their progress on the chart. By the end of the year, they will complete the Sefer.
Along with learning, they will G-d willing, refine their speech and strengthen their Ahavas Yisroel.
“We hear a description of purity of speech, elegance of talk, of staying united together as one and we don’t recognize ourselves in the description,” said Rabbi Shapiro. “But that is the real you and the true you.”
We hope all TDSP families will join us in Project Triangle. Learn more at www.tdsp.org/triangle/
If you missed the event, you can receive your gift bag at pick up.