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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes, and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.
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The following are some ways that we are instructed and guided in how to protect ourselves from speaking negatively.
A) We should think before we speak. In this way we can understand וישובו ויחנו לפני פי החירות—before we talk and have a free mouth, have ישוב הדעת (וישובו) and be settled (ויחנו).
The Gemara uses the phrase מרגלא בפומיה דרבי מאיר, it was familiar in the mouth of R’ Meir. מרגלא also means a pearl. An explanation given is that it was a pearl because he measured and weighed each word as each word was accounted for, concise to the point, לשון נקי and so on.
B) We must be so busy with Torah that we have no time to speak negatively. The Ahavas Yisrael was once asked on that which we are taught that למד לשונך איני יודע, we should teach our tongue to say we don’t know. This is not always true since sometimes we do know? He replied one should be busy only with Torah and not the emptiness of this world. As a result, he can then say איני יודעregarding matters of this world.
C) If we seek to see the positive in everyone and everything, we would speak only good. For this reason the Pasuk enlightens us to see the good of Yerushalayim, since it is very easy to see its problems (Arabs, bureaucracy, etc.).
 Shemos 14:2. Silence can improve the Shalom Bayis of many. This is the explanation given in (Avos 1:17) ולא מצאתי לגוף טוב אלא משתיקה, I found nothing better for oneself than silence, as the Gemara tells us אשתו כגופו.
 Brachos 17a, see Sanhedrin 50b, Rashi מרגלא. This phrase is used also with others like Abaye, Rava and so on. See there.
 Similarly, Targum Unkolos says on כי כבד פה, Moshe is heavy of mouth, ארי יקר ממלל (Shemos 4:10) as he gave importance to each word.
 Brachos 4a. The Metzora brings two birds for purification, one is slaughtered and one lives (Vayikra 14, see Eruchin 16b). The Zohar (Tazria) says one is afflicted with צרעת for the harmful words he uttered and the beneficial words that he didn’t. The Sefas Emes (Metzora, תרסא) explains the one slaughtered represents the elimination of negative speech and the one allowed to live symbolizes beneficial speech.
 Tangentially, at times we need to apply the ruling a rav once gave concerning a specific question he was asked. He said, “even if it is mutar (permitted), it’s asur (forbidden).” This has been applied to other areas of life as well. One example of this is giving an abundance of candy to a child.
 There is a saying, “When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark look for stars.”
 Tehillim 128:5.