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Beit Midrash Series Ein Ayah

condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 12:23

Speech and Silence

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Gemara: The hunched peh and straight peh represent the open mouth (peh) and closed mouth.

Ein Ayah: Speech and silence serve as co-foundations of the world. When the mouth is open to speak about that for which speech was created (e.g., spreading Torah and wisdom) and bring special light to the world’s dark places, one builds a supporting pillar for the world.

In contrast, regarding holy silence, whether to withhold damaging speech or even to not spread too much light when inappropriate, such as when it is too deep and pure for the listener to contain, silence makes existence grand. So the open mouth and the close mouth both build Hashem’s palace above and below, so that there is eternal sanctity throughout the world. Openness is appropriate by lowlier (hunched) things, and silence is more likely proper for matters of the highest levels. In that way, "To You silence is praise" (Tehillim 65:2).
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