The Torah interrupts its discussion about shemitah and the related laws of resting the land in the seventh year to introduce the prohibition of ona’ah, wrongdoing. There are different types of ona’ah. One type is ona’as devarim – harming someone with words.
Why does the Torah place the prohibition of ona’as devorim in the middle of the laws about shemitah?
Rabbi Frand quotes Rav Yakov Weinberg ztl who explains that the motivation behind snide remarks is really a lack of satisfaction with one’s own portion in life. When somebody makes a hurtful remark about another person, he is trying to aggrandise himself by diminishing another. Ultimately, this reflects an insufficient faith in Hashem because it shows a lack of satisfaction with one’s own lot. If a person truly had emunah that he has what he needs, he would not need to make these remarks.
That is why the possuk concludes with “I am the L-rd, your G-d” in order to remind us that our life situations are given to us by Hashem and it is up to us to make the most of them.
Here at Hasmonean we aim to help each student develop their potential. We do this by offering a broad and exciting array of formal and informal educational experiences.
All of this exposes our students to a broad Yiddishkeit which will hopefully enable them to discover who they are and what their potential is. That is the surest way to avoid ona’as devorim and any form of hurtful speech as they embark on their journey in life
Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbos.
Rabbi J Golker