Echo Institute for Health held its annual fundraiser at the home of Mrs. Lisa Reichmann on Sunday evening, May 19. Echo National Institute for Health acts as a resource center, providing effective, personal, and caring guidance to people who face critical medical problems. It places patients and their families into contact with medical practitioners and acute care. Echo has provided medical referrals for over 30 years. Echo receives 150 calls per day, on average; that is over 30,000 calls per year. Each call generates other calls. There is a whole network going on. Echo has a database of over 14,000 doctors. There is no fee. It operates on contributions alone. Echo counselors demonstrate tremendous caring for each caller. Finally, Echo appreciates follow-up calls to see how their referrals helped.

First, Rebbetzin Miriam Welcher of Congregation Ahavas Yisroel, led T’hilim for any cholim.

Then, Rabbi Daniel Glatstein, rav of Kehillas Ahavas Yisrael in Cedarhurst, shared a life-changing shiur about sh’miras ha’lashon. He began with the fact that everyone wants to find the secret for a long, happy life. We see in T’hilim that guarding your tongue will give you a long, good life.

Rabbi Glatstein posed the question, “Why is avoiding lashon ha’ra the key to long life?” When the Chofetz Chaim turned 90, he advertised this fact in the newspaper. He wanted to show the world that guarding your speech gives you long life. “It gave credence to his life’s mission.” The Chofetz Chaim wrote many s’farim about speech. He said, “Practically my entire life I did not let my mind wander from the faculty of speech.”

The Gemara tells us that Hashem says that every limb in the body is vertical. Only one organ is horizontal, and that is the tongue. All the limbs are external except the tongue which is on the inside. The tongue has two guards: the teeth and the lips. This is to teach us how to view speech. The Gemara is teaching us that you have a tongue just in case you need it. It’s a weapon, so it’s in a default horizontal position. It’s at rest. “It’s there in case you need it. “

He shared that the m’tzora has to be in solitude. This is the most severe tum’ah. He has to leave all three camps. In Shir HaShirim, the chasan, G-d, compliments the teeth of the kallah, B’nei Yisrael. “Her teeth are all perfect. None is missing. They’re whole and pure. “Your teeth are like a flock of rams.”

Rabbi Glatstein explained that a person has 32 teeth, if none are lost. He has 16 on top and 16 on the bottom. The number 32 is equal to the word leiv in Hebrew, which means heart. The Shelah HaKadosh taught that the mouth has three purposes: learning, davening, and doing chesed. We have a total of 16 aliyos per week and there are 16 korbanos per week.

The Shelah HaKadosh taught that a person has to ask himself or herself the following: Is what I am about to say Torah, chesed, or t’filah. If it’s not, then don’t say it. Rav Moshe Cordovero taught that Hashem gave us 32 teeth because the brain has 32 pathways, each connecting to a tooth. We have 32 main blood vessels connecting from the brain to the teeth. Hashem created the world with 32 pathways of wisdom. The first perek of B’reishis has G-d’s name 32 times. All of creation was created with these 32 pathways of wisdom. “So, each tooth is rooted on high to chochmah.” If we use speech the wrong way, then we are hurting the system. If we use it properly, that leads to long life.

Rabbi Glatstein then spoke about the blessing of Asher Yatzar. He said that this blessing is actually connected to Elokai Neshamah. Asher Yatzar ends with “Hashem heals all flesh and acts wondrously.” The word mafli, acts wondrously, refers to the faculty of speech.

He shared that Moshe wore a white garment with no hem when he was the presiding kohen for seven days. A physical entity can’t speak and a neshamah can’t speak. The word for hem is imrah. The Maharal says that this is the secret to understanding the power of speech. A physical entity cannot speak and a neshamah cannot speak. So how does a human being speak? When Hashem created Adam from dirt from the ground, He blew in his nostril a neshamah. When the physical and spiritual were put together, then man became a living spirit. Onkelos taught that speech is produced by the fusion of body and soul. The glue of the guf and the neshamah is the strength of speech. The biggest pele of Hashem is the fusion of guf and neshamah with speech. Every time you see the word pele, it refers to speech.

He pointed out that the mal’ach hits the baby’s mouth and then the baby forgets all the Torah he learned in the womb. Wouldn’t it make more sense to hit his head? Why his mouth? It’s the makeh b’patish. It creates the fusion of guf and neshamah with the strength of the power of speech.

We must be careful what we say and how we say it for our soul to exist harmoniously. “If we are careful to guard our mouth, then Hashem will guard our life.”

He offered a brachah that we should all use our mouths properly and have long life and blessings.

 By Susie Garber

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