The following is an excerpt from an email about the parsha by Rabbi Eli Mansour about the effect of harsh words.
The story is told of a woman whose husband frequently insulted her. She would
respond angrily, which in turn provoked an even more offensive response,
resulting in a spiral of back-and-forth shouting and name-calling. Exasperated,
the woman consulted with her Rabbi, who gave her a curious piece of advice. He
said that each time her husband said something hurtful to her, instead of
responding, she should take a hammer and bang a nail into some
And so, that day, when the husband insulted the woman, she
didn’t say a word. She went upstairs with a hammer, and banged a nail into a
wall. When he insulted her again for doing something so foolish, she again
banged a nail into a wall.
This went on for several weeks, until finally
the husband wanted to know what was going on. The wife told him about the
Rabbi’s suggestion, and showed him the approximately 100 nails in the
“I offended you so many times?” the husband asked.
the wife confirmed. “Each nail is another time you said something hurtful to
“Well,” the husband said, “it should work the other way, as well.
Every time I say something nice to you, you should remove a nail from the wall.”
The idea sounded reasonable, so the wife agreed.
Sure enough, the husband
starting showering his wife with compliments. He praised her for her meals, her
appearance, and her personality, told her how much she meant to him and said
that he loved her. Each time, a nail came out of the wall. Finally, the day
arrived when the last nail was pulled out.
“You see?” the husband said.
“It’s all fixed now. The nails are all gone.”
“Not quite,” the wife
replied. “Yes, the nails are gone – but look at all the holes that are left in
the wall. They still need to be filled.”
Read full devar Torah: http://www.dailyhalacha.com/WeeklyParasha.asp