“One Who Guards His Tongue…”

Note: This is a guest post by Leah Topas.

Turning of the head, immersion in a magazine, rearranging purse contents – none of the usual tricks were working. There was a scene in the waiting room on this day that could not be ignored; it would not be ignored. She was a force of nature.

Mental illness delivered by way of a rap song.

“Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan, Barney the Purple Dinosaur’s Space Jam! It’s a beautiful day to be your neighbor!” Her plus sized body accompanied the song with dancing, her hand gestures wild for greater emphasis.

“Sing the whole song! It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.” Her caregiver urges. Anything to keep her charge contained. She gives her a sip of water from the cooler, shadows as she comes uncomfortably close to other patients and redirects her a safe distance away with love.

Before us, a grown woman is trapped by a child’s mind. She’s scaring the actual children, who have nervous smiles on their faces. The adults are wondering what will happen next. I’m watching carefully.

Why are you showing this to me, Hashem?

This coming Shabbos is Rosh Chodesh Elul. Soon we will be asking our maker to forgive our failures and accept our repentance. We will plead to be inscribed in the Book of Life for another year.

What better way to show sincerity than by guarding our tongues? Unlike the unfortunate soul in the waiting room, most of us have been given the gift of clarity and self-control. We should use our words, whether in spoken or written form, only for good.