This post may contain affiliate links. View our full disclosure for more info.

A rabbi once asked his class this question:

How many of you could go twenty-four hours without saying an unkind word about, or to, anybody?

When the majority of the class responded with a resounding, “No!” and some rounds of laughter the rabbi shot back with this mind-blowing statement.

“All of you who can’t answer yes must recognize how serious a problem you have. Because if I asked you to go for twenty-four hours without drinking liquor, and you said, ‘I can’t do that,’ I’d tell you, ‘Then you must recognize that you’re an alcoholic.’ And if I asked you to go for twenty-four hours without smoking a cigarette, and you said, ‘That’s impossible,’ that would mean that you’re addicted to nicotine. Similarly, if you can’t go for twenty-four hours without saying unkind words about others, then you’ve lost control over your tongue.”

-Rabbie Joseph Telushkin

Words That Hurt, Words That Heal

Killer intro, huh! Is it any wonder why I kept reading? This book is valuable in so many ways, but before we get into all that, let’s go over the basics.

Who Is This Book For? 

Words That Hurt, Words That Heal, by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, is for any person who wants to gain understanding about the power of their words.


Words That Hurt, Words That Heal is all words and how they affect people. Throughout the book, you will learn about principles and standards or communication that have been long forgotten. Some of these policies are rooting in biblical principles and others are supported more through Jewish culture. Most people through words around like they are nothing. But if you take anything away from this book, it’s going to the fact that your words have power.

You will learn how to speak to others, how to speak about others, and how to speak words that bring life and healing to people.

Other topics of interest include:

  • Ethical Speech
  • Fighting Fair
  • How to Criticize and How to Accept Rebuke
  • Controlling Rage and Anger
  • The Lure of Gossip and the damage it causes
  • Boundaries of Appropriate Speech
  • “Speak No Evil Day”

My Experience: 

This book was a gift. Both literally and figuratively. My brother gave it to me as a Christmas gift and what I got from it was invaluable. I’ll be honest, I started reading Words that Hurt, Words the Heal I thought I knew exactly what it was going to tell me. I expected it to be the stereotypical “your words matter” speech that everybody gives. But the depth of the information in this book was much more than that. It taught me how to honor people with speech. Not just my husband but the people I see every day. It revealed different ways that I may have been hurting people with my words and not even realizing it.

I was so encouraged to make a difference with the information that I learned I actually sent out a newsletter challenge encouraging the ladies in my Tribe to step it up a notch and really guard the words that they spoke. I even equipped them with 7 scriptures and personalized prayers to encourage them through the challenge and remind them just how much power the words they speak hold. Needless to say, this book really hit home for me.


I’ll be honest, Words That Hurt, Words that Heal, isn’t a book to read for entertainment. This is a book for people who want to learn and are willing to apply what they learn. Yes, it grabs your attention. And sure, it’s enjoyable. But it’s also a power-packed book, written by a power filled man, whose heart is to deliver powerful truths to his readers. There will be boatloads of information thrown in your face. Embrace it! Take it slow. You’ll be happy you did.

17 thoughts on “Words That Hurt, Words That Heal”

  1. Lo, This sounds amazing and I had added it to my books to read as soon as I get caught up! What a powerful statement! I am much better with my tongue since I asked the Lord to make me bite it everytime I say an unkind word. Be careful what you pray for! Great post!

    1. How cool would it be if books like this were introduced in schools? Kids should have tools like this BEFORE they enter into adulthood.

  2. This is so huge. I’m (thankfully!) becoming more and more aware of the POWER I have in what I say, especially since having children. So much of what I say will shape them as people — so I better be wise!

Join the conversation! Leave a Reply.

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: