Rav Avigdor Miller on Putting A Padlock On Your Mouth

How would you advise a person to learn to stop talking too much?

I’ll tell you a very important piece of advice. I told you many times before that איזהו חכם הרואה את הנולד – “Who is the wise man? The one who looks ahead into the future.” (Tamid 32a). Now, don’t think that this means only looking far off into the future. Even if you will look only a few minutes into the future, you’re still a wise man. Wiser than many others.

Let’s say you’re going to work. So before you enter your place of work, stop on the threshold and say to yourself, “Look here Chaim; how long are you going to shoot your mouth off already?! And then people will just ridicule you and dislike you.” And say to yourself, “Today I’m only going to say what’s absolutely necessary for politeness or for utility. Before I open my big mouth, I’m going to ask myself two questions: One, am I saying this to as a kindness to someone else? And two, is it something useful?”

Like it says about the wise woman in Mishlei, פיה פתחה בחכמה ותורת חסד על לשונה – “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the toras chesed is on her tongue” (Mishlei 31:26). She opens her mouth only for wisdom, that’s utility, or for toras chesed, that’s kindliness. So to say to somebody, “Good morning,” or something like that, that’s good. That’s kindliness. Wonderful. Or if it’s going to be something useful; somebody needs a word or two to help them out with something, that’s good, that’s חכמה. That’s opening your mouth for a good purpose.

But otherwise, put a padlock on your lips. Keep your mouth closed. These are the two criteria: Chesed or chochmah. Are you opening your mouth to be kind? Is it words of wisdom coming out of your mouth? Of course the highest chochmah is Torah, but even any chochmah, if you’ll be useful to somebody else, you can open your mouth with wisdom.

So it’s always פיה פתחה בחכמה ותורת חסד על לשונה. Always, these have to be the two criteria. Is it useful? Is it something that is kindly? Otherwise don’t say it. You’re not endearing yourself to anybody when you shoot off your big mouth.

And that’s the secret to being happily married. Before you open your mouth, think. איזהו חכם הרואה את הנולד. If you open your mouth only for kindliness or utility, you’ll be happier in your married life. And you’ll live longer and you’ll be zoicheh to Olam Habah as well.

TAPE # 772