This Passover, Let Us Become Free of the 'Evil Tongue'

AP Photo/Courtesy Matthew Christopher

Passover, which begins this Monday night, is the most celebrated holiday in Judaism, even by the most secular Jew. It is additionally important for all people who accept Jesus, as the Last Supper is accepted by most as a Passover Seder.  “Seder,” which means “order,” is the ritualized meal that begins the Passover holiday, commemorates the evening that death “passed over” the ancient Hebrews, and includes the matzah and wine that Jesus held up in that last meal he shared with his disciples.


The holiday itself celebrates freedom from all things we have become enslaved to and all the “false idols” that we have embraced: money, fame, power, and all of the bad habits that we place over what is truly important in life.

There is one “idol” that all too many people have embraced in this time of social media, demonstrations, and “activism,” especially in this election year with wars going on around the world. An idol that every person of every faith can choose to consciously eliminate in this holy time. In Hebrew, the term is “lashon hara," the evil tongue.

 How many people are hurt through gossip, misquotes, hate-filled speech, and misunderstandings? How many people are speaking hate about topics they know nothing about by just regurgitating what they have heard in the agenda-driven media? (Thank God for outlets like PJ Media, which strives for truth and which you can read more of by becoming a VIP member.)

 The evil tongue has convinced some people that Israel -- the country with the most moral army in the history of the world according to Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan -- is immoral. The evil tongue has encouraged our culture to embrace the idea of multiple genders in denial of basic physiology. The evil tongue has re-identified violent riots as “peaceful protests,” and an actual peaceful protest as an “insurrection.”  


 It is the evil tongue that has declared that ESG is a good financial idea, and that the world should be managed based on “diversity, equity, and inclusion” rather than meritocracy. The evil tongue has been mastered by Marxists, who repeatedly speak of the world being a history of oppressed vs. oppressor, and push an agenda where what is “normal” for most people is to be viewed as an oppressor.  (Thank you, James Lindsay, for expressing and teaching this understanding of Marxism so eloquently.)  This same evil tongue has created an environment where civil discourse is limited and people have forgotten the practice of disagreeing without being disagreeable.  It has become an idol that too many Americans are worshipping, even when it is in direct opposition to their religious faith tradition.

 The importance of removing this false idol during Passover cannot be overstated, as it is one of the roots that leads to so many violent actions, families and friends being torn apart, hate on our college campuses, and the destruction of the values and moral fabric of society.  Lashon hara is actually taken so seriously in Judaism that it is considered one of the few sins that cannot be rectified fully in this world.


 And it is a vital, although hidden, part of the Passover experience.

 Most people know the story of Passover, and that the “villain” in the story is Pharaoh. The Hebrew letters of the word “pharaoh” can be transposed, and spell the words “peh ra,” or “evil mouth”.  Pharaoh is the archetype of constantly speaking with an evil mouth -- with words that are dangerous and dividing, causing pain rather than healing.  It is this evil mouth, this evil speech that has precipitated so many of the world’s problems throughout history.

 Consider for a moment how many wars would never have started had it not been for this quality.  How much hate is encouraged through this type of speech?  How much dialogue that could have created peace was eliminated and replaced with painful arguments that have torn apart relationships?

 We live in a world where social media clicks are more important than truth, and people spout hate from behind the anonymity of an email. How much better can the world become if we all let go of the idol of evil speech and replace it with consciousness about what we say and how we say it?

 American culture is obsessed with what we put in our mouths: what we drink, eat, and inhale. Passover teaches us to be even more concerned with what comes out of our mouths -- and by extension, what we write and post.


 And in letting go of this false idol, may we once again return to a world of civil discourse based on values and ethics where we ca disagree without being disagreeable.



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