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Jewish Thinking

10 Quotes and Tips from the Vilna Gaon

Published on Monday March 23th, 2020

1. Shabbat is an extremely holy day: "On Shabbat and festival days, we must not speak of things that are not absolutely necessary. Even for those absolutely necessary things, one must speak briefly because the holiness of Shabbat is immense."

2. Learn Torah calmly: "Man will only retain his learning if he studies in a posed and serene way."

3. One should work hard to acquire good Middot (character traits) and good speech: "It takes a lot of work to acquire good character traits and good speech."

4. The non-believer knows that the path he has chosen is bad: "The non-believer himself knows that the path he takes is bad, but he has trouble leaving it. "

5. One receives an immense reward for each time one closes one's mouth to avoid uttering forbidden words: "And every moment when a man does not say a word, he is entitled to the secret light that no angel or other creature can imagine. "

6. In order to earn a portion in the next world, one must control one's tongue: "The bottom line is that to earn a share in the next world one should preserve one's tongue, and that is worth more than the whole Torah and doing good deeds."

7. The worst transgression: "…as a result, I warn you: try as much as possible to stay alone, because the sin of Lashon Hora, (gossip), is the worst of all transgressions. And why should one stay away from this sin, more than from others? ''Everything man does is to the benefit of his mouth." (Kohelet 6: 7) Our sages have declared that all the mitzvot and the Torah learning that man does, is nothing compared to what comes out of his mouth.''

8. Everything must be done with peace, love, affection, and satisfaction: "I come to present a very pressing request of supreme importance: guide your daughters so that they do not utter any curse, oath or lie. Everything must be done with peace, affection, and satisfaction."

9. Preserving one's mouth and desires, Teshuvah: "Until the day of his death, man must torment himself, not by fasting and mortifications. And every moment man restrains himself from speaking, he is entitled to the secret light that no angel or other creature can imagine. "

10. Honor your mother-in-law, especially if she is a widow: "I ask my wife to honor my mother, as it is written in the Torah, especially a widow, because it is a great sin to cause her sadness, even with a small gesture. I also ask my mother that there be peace between you two. A woman should make her neighbor happy with good things because it is a great Mitzvah. "

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