Today is the Yahrzeit of a man I have never met; yet he touched and inspired me. I believe you will feel the same. His name is Rabbi Michael Stern or Rabbi Mike. He was known as the Rabbi Without Walls and sought to be a friend, a safe harbor, everyman’s Rabbi. He was successful at this endeavor. As said by one of his contemporaries, he made friends with each person who crossed his path. Another called him “a heart on legs”.
Possibly his most cherished mission was the campaign he called “Green Speech”.
Rabbi Mike’s Green Speech Campaign used the concept of caring for our planet to address taking care of our speech. He brought to life Shmirat HaLashon, guarding our tongue. Just as we strive to plant greenery, reduce waste and create a healthier earth, Rabbi Mike campaigned that we apply these principles to how we speak. To treat each other with simple love, respect and encouragement.
Last week I talked about love of our fellow and Lashon Hara, not speaking badly of others. Rabbi Mike inspired that post.
It strikes me that good will, the willingness and effort to love our fellows is the PIVOT, the primary axis upon which IT all rests. “IT” being that elusive goal of peace for which we pine.
Rabbi Mike’s “Green Speech” project brilliantly and yet so simply connects Lashon Hara with Love Your Neighbor. As elusive as is peace, so too is love. Just how do we love our neighbor? We can make a phenomenal start by guarding how we talk about our boss, our sibling, our spouse, even our enemy.
So without further ado, here is Rabbi Mike.
Rabbi Stern Green Speech Campaign
As Rabbi Mike said, “Why not reduce the toxins and pollutants from our speech…?”
In memory of our lost loved ones, in honor of our loved ones still here, and in merit of those loved ones yet to come, let’s pick this campaign back up!
IT’S not easy, as you know. I am tempted every day to break this lovely way. I need help.…
Will you join me please?
Love, Vivi. ©
10 Habits of Green Speech article by Rabbi Mike Stern and Aleeza Ben Shalom at Aish.com
10 Habits of Green Speech video. Campaign created by Rabbi Michael Stern of blessed memory. Video by Evan Davis at Aish.com
Photos from Canva.com