Teach us to number our words

“So teach the number of our days, so that we shall acquire a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:9

The other day I came across quite the footnote in a collection of Hasidic Tales.

It says:

The Baal Shem Tov taught that a person is born with a fixed number of words to speak; when they are spoken, the person dies. Imagine that this is true for you. Every word you speak brings you closer to your death. The next time you are about to utter a word, ask yourself whether the word is worth dying for.

What a warning against idle speech! And what a reminder of the power and dignity of our words!

Each word I write on this daily blog about death, too, brings me nearer to my own death.

There is something solemn about this, but also something profoundly invigorating.