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What Are You Doing!

Updated: Aug 3, 2022

Ona'as Devarim

נְצֹ֣ר לְשׁוֹנְךָ֣ מֵרָ֑ע וּ֝שְׂפָתֶ֗יךָ מִדַּבֵּ֥ר מִרְמָֽה׃

Guard your tongue from evil,

your lips from deceitful speech.

(Psalm 34:14)

Words can heal and words can wound.

When words wound we call it Ona'as Devarim - hurftul speech. It is important to be aware of the power of speech.

Deceitful speech can also include questions like: what are you doing? When this question is not sincerely meant to find out what the other person is doing, but rather contains a form of criticism, it is hurtful for the person. With our question we actually want to say: how can you be so stupid because to do so, or what you do is not good enough.

We sometimes say it to people who are in a learning process or are totally unaware of other ways and possibilities to solve a problem. You regularly hear this question said to children when they do an assignment of ours that they have not understood well enough.

The question makes people insecure and is an attack on their self-esteem and self-confidence. If someone can do something better in your opinion, or should do it differently, ask them if you can help, set a good example and sometimes people are just entitled to make and experience their own mistakes then it is better to just be quiet.

Brought By Angelique Sijbolts


Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners en intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.



Positive Word Power: Day 59.


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Yair Borici
Yair Borici

Truly lashon hara (לָשׁוֹן הָרַע) is insidious and a phenomenal ingredient to corrupt the world. Numerous scriptures talk about it: Tehillim 34;36;64 or Mishlei 15:4 are typical references. As it is written, lashon hara kills three people: the two interlocutors and the subject of lashon hara (Deios 7:3).

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