A Broken Pot Never Becomes Whole
a vessel is broken or fractured it never regains its strength regardless of how
much glue we apply to repair it. This
adage is true of vessels, of pictures and of unnamed objects in general.
It also applies to humans. Once
an individual has been damaged by acts or deeds very little can be achieved
to alter the damage that has been done.
It is not only the gun, the knife, or the illness that causes the pain
and the fracture, it is frequently the spoken word that causes the damage.
“Loshen Horre,” the evil tongue, can cause hurt, anger, resentment, ill feelings and denigration. The vicious words that have
been used can have a long life of unhappiness, ill feeling and self hatred to
the victim, the object, the target of the evil doer, the oppressor, the gossip.
are innumerable examples of the results of the end product of the thus injured
individual. The child that has been
beaten, neglected, ridiculed or otherwise hurt will become the adult who is
fearful, angry, and distressed, and the misdeeds perpetrated will never leave
him. The girl that has been
molested will have skewed reactions toward her gender, her sexuality, and her
self respect. Victims of the
holocaust will always be fearful, cautious, and ready to run, taking their
proverbial fiddle with them. They
may react like Coleridge’s “Ancient Mariner,” who “stoppeth one by
three” to tell their tale, their story, their life threatening experiences to
any one who will listen. The
repetition of their experiences gives them reassurance that this will possibly
never happen to them again or that
everyone should beware!
adult who has been the object of gossip will have the “Mark of Zorro” on him
and will be labeled. His persona
will be minimized as a result of the evil words spoken about him and he can
never regain his integrity. If for
some reason he is not fully aware of that with which he has been painted, the
aura about him has been changed. A
direct confrontation against another can be a very painful experience.
Although the targeted person can defend herself she will never feel the
same against the perpetrator, of the hatred expressed.
A bitter taste, an aura, will remain and the good feeling that was once
felt is gone. When a person is
attacked with negative words he will be angry but he will possibly believe the
ugliness, the venom that has been directed at him.
If she is called ugly she will believe it.
If she is called stupid or attacked with hostility she will feel
unlovable and her very being will retaliate against the perpetrator or, worse,
against herself by believing that which has been hurled at her.
spoken with sincerity can be comforting. They
can never make up if the hurt has been too deep or if the victim is a very
sensitive human who has experienced much pain in his or her life.
Four letter words hurled against a person are never acceptable and doubly
not if they come from a peer or an educated individual.
are deeds that will affect the psyche or the deepest feelings that one has, the
anger, the insecurity that follows the person for eternity.
One such example is the bridegroom who left his would be bride a day
before the “Chuppah.” He had pledged his eternal love and devotion to the
young woman and they were “deeply in love.”
The would be “Chosen” (bridegroom) was talked out of the marriage by
his dysfunctional family, so he disappeared.
Ultimately because of the devastation of the bride, she reunited with
him, and married the man. She could
never totally trust him, never felt truly loved again, and the shadow of his
desertion followed her all the days of her marriage.
Truly religious persons must never embarrass another human being with words or deeds. Words can injure, they can leave a lasting effect. Religion is not just attending synagogue or a religious institution. They must be respectful to their fellow human beings to be understanding of human frailties, to be nonjudgmental. They must be able to love and be giving. Just following rituals and ceremonies does not a just human being make. Let us all be especially careful of the words that we speak to our fellow Jews and our fellow men.
Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.