A Powerful Machine

Historically, documents were written by hand. A sefer Torah is written by hand. The Declaration of Independence was written by hand. In the 1850’s, you paid a scribe to write a document at a set rate of currency per one hundred words because everything had to be written at a very slow pace.

With the invention of the printing press all that was to change. It was now possible to print entire pages within minutes. Printing a book was no longer an undertaking measured in months, but could now be accomplished in a matter of days.

With the advance of technology, thing have progressed dramatically. A personal computer can now spit out twenty pages a minute or more. And a computer driven printing press can not only get an output of a hundred words a minute or thousands of words a minute, it can print out an entire book in ten minutes.

This illustrates an interesting change that technology has brought. It used to be very difficult to communicate, to put words out. Now we have machines that spew them out at hyper speed. The human mouth is just such an instrument.

The Chofetz Chaim counts that the average person speaks two hundred words a minute. Each word of lashon hara is a separate prohibition. As the clock ticks and my tongue wags at two hundred words a minute, you can multiply how many times per hour that I’m racking up huge, huge amounts of prohibitions.

Much like a machine that can spew forth words at tremendous speeds, the human mouth has such power. Unless you learn to guard it, it can cause a tremendous amount of damage.

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