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Two Types of Healing

It is well known in medical treatments that you can treat the symptoms or the source of the problem. Treating the symptoms will hopefully resolve the problem, but it very well may be a temporary treatment, and the malady could potentially return anytime. On the other hand, when we get to the core of a problem and resolve it, we can trust that the problem will not return.

The same choice exists in resolving our inner issues in life. We often look for quick solutions to our inner conflicts, but know that unless we deal seriously with them, we are only putting a band aid on them. Psychologists, therapists and psychiatrists are faced with the same challenge.

The Torah is very aware of this choice we face and provides both alternatives for each of us to heal in our own way. However some choices get more to the core of our being to resolve our issues and connect on a more internalized basis.

Take for instance the prohibition about Lashon Hara, speaking badly about another person.This is a serious prohibition, which the great Chafetz Chaim connects to the transgression of over 30 commandments. Courses are given on how to control one's tongue, how to catch oneself before one speaks negatively, and what to do if one made a mistake. Laws are written on how to handle sensitive situations and people go to great lengths to restrict their speech, out of fear that they will say something negative about another.

No doubt this is a very admirable behavior, but it is not dealing with the core problem.

In Chassidic thought it is explained that each person has a soul, and that soul has three garments. These garments, as in the body, act as intermediaries between the person and the world around them. They express who a person is and give expression to their true nature. for the soul, These garments are thought, speech, and action. we relate to the world around us totally through these mediums. Speech and action are very much an expression of thought. We speak our thoughts and act on them. When we avoid a certain type of speech habit, we may be holding back on giving expression to the negative thoughts in our mind, but we are not doing anything to change the source.

The Chassidic leaders teach that the best answer to avoiding negative speech is to cultivate an unconditional and overflowing love for every fellow Jew - to each member of your Jewish family. Recognizing the good core nature of every Jew and seeing that person as a G-dly soul in a sometimes soiled body, This brings about a tremendous respect and even love for that individual. This approach confronts some of our inner negativity and undermines it before it gets into our mouth.

With an attitude of true Ahavat Yisroel - love for a fellow Jew - the possibility of speaking Lashon Hara doesn't even come into play.

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