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Words That Hurt, Words That Heal: How to Choose Words Wisely and Well

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  302 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Joseph Telushkin is renowned for his warmth, his erudition, and his richly anecdotal insights, and in Words That Hurt, Words That Heal he focuses these gifts on the words we use in public and in private, revealing their tremendous power to shape relationships. With wit and wide-ranging intelligence, Rabbi Telushkin explains the harm in spreading gossip, rumors, or others' ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 19th 1998 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1996)
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Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inspiration
Several years ago I joined a group of women who committed themselves to closely observing the Jewish laws of careful, sensitive speech. We were each responsible for a two hour "watch" during which we would avoid gossip, unkind words, and negative thought and speech patterns. My "watch" was from 8 AM to 10 AM when I used to get caught up on the financial and world news at the start of the Wall Street trading day.

What a revelation! I began to see even the most venerable newspapers as minefields fi
Jane De vries
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Yes, words do matter, especially now more than ever. a huge fan of what ever Telushkin writes.
Sep 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jewish-roots
This is by far the best book I've ever read on how we use our words. Telushkin gives great examples of so many common social situations and disarms them by calling out the right and the wrong in them. It's convicting in a clean way that inspires you with clear direction on how to love your neighbor as yourself.
Jessica Blevins
Apr 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on how what we say affects our relationships and the people around us. I'll reread over and over as a reminder to practice this in daily life. Based on Jewish religious texts.
Jan 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Anybody interested in a self-improvement project that will keep you busy for the rest of your life? This book convicted me about the power of my words, both in the big things and the seemingly little ones. The section on the power of parents' words to their children has stuck with me since I read it.

Take a look around your world and see if applying, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" wouldn't be an improvement. The author is encouraging and realistic, acknowledging that
Kris Siegel
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jewish-books
Words have power, and using "right speech" is so important. Rabbi Telushkin explains the harm in spreading gossip, rumors, or others' secrets, and how unfair anger, excessive criticism, or lying undermines true communication. I've read this book more than once, and it's great to have a refresher course on right speech, because we all fall into bad patterns occasionally.
Sep 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kingdom-living
A powerful way to show the importance of "negative truths" and the power of what we say to each other or about others. I would recommend this book to others for sure - I sort of wish everyone that is an educator had to read this book, it would truly change what is said in the teacher lunch area that is for sure.
Dustin Bagby
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent wisdom on how we use our words. Highly recommend!
Marty Solomon
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I continue to be moved as I study the teachings of Talmudic tradition and what it has to say about the use of our speech. I knew that I had a minor struggle with the way that I spoke about others, but this was another book written by another Rabbi that proved to be an incredible eye-opener. As I read about the depth and complexity of the rabbinic tradition — as well as the reasoning behind the rulings — I was stunned by the impact that my words have on other people.

Telushkin is a very easy-to-re
Cheryl Kloda
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book "Words That Hurt, Words That Heal" kept my interest at all times. I also believe that I learned a lot. Author, Joseph Telushkin ,shows that words can be beneficial and can also be like knives. Think before you speak, or choose your words wisely is a theme through out this book. Gossip is another topic that is mentioned. Another thought that comes to mind is, "Silence Is Golden". In addition, Rabbi Telushkin talks about how to speak to a young child. I believe everyone can benefit from ...more
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Much wisdom can be learned from this book.
It's divided into five sections: the unrecognized power of words, how we speak about others, how we speak to others, words that heal, and a final section of review and a promotion for a national "Speak No Evil Day." There's also an index and notes section.
There's no need to be religious to enjoy what this book has to offer. It made me think of words in a way I had not before.
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wish I read this book much earlier in life

Amazing book. I wished I would have read it much earlier in life. A definite re-read, I read it in a week and plan to re read , take notes and reflect extensively📖💕
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very thoughtful
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A book many could benefit from reading, even if the subject material is somewhat remedial. Recommended.
Sep 13, 2016 marked it as to-read
need to put on hold
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
"Words That Hurt, Words That Heal" is an ethical living book based on the teachings of Jewish rabbis (which are based on the Jewish Bible). It not only looked at what the rabbis taught, but why they taught it. The author gave examples of people whose lives were ruined or built up by words. This powerfully underscored the point being made.

The book discussed how words are powerful, how we speak about others (gossip, true but harmful comments, etc.) and how we speak to others (anger, fear, criticis
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jewish-texts
I started this book honestly quite skeptical of the mitzvah of lashon hara. Is it truely possible not to gossip about others? Given the enormity of the task, why bother?
Rabbi Telushkin quickly convinced me that this is an incredibly important obligation, and indeed how we speak to and about others is vital. He delved deeper into not just the why but the how, although he spends a lot of time on the why. I also appreciated that he examined the "when not to". When do we have to say something about
Apr 17, 2013 rated it liked it
I didn't like this book as much as I thought I would, but it still offered some useful ideas for navigating relationships based on halacha. I would've preferred more of an emphasis on how to communicate with my partner (like the chapter on "fighting fair") rather than on avoiding lashon hara. I have enjoyed Telushkin's other books more. The most useful piece of advice I gleaned from this book was to focus on the present rather than turning an argument into "you always/never do this..."
Sep 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! It's about why speaking "negative truths" about someone behind their back is immoral. Most have been taught that if it's true, then it's okay to repeat. But who wants to be known for all of the bad things they've done, even if they are true? Note: there are a couple of paragraphs where you may want to use discernment … chew the fish and spit out the bones.
Jan 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was an incredible book and convicting in so many ways. It's one that I want to continue to read periodically and recommend to people I kjnow because of how well he explains the power words have to do lasting damage and to be life-giving.
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Great guide to ethical speech. I did find it amusing that the author used so many anecdotes about people while expounding on why talking about people is usually a bad idea, but I understood why he needed to and it was good to have the illustrative examples.
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
Really excellent book. He uses both pop culture and Jewish proverbs to make his points about gossip, slander and complaining and the damage they can cause.
Edda Briggs
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the best non-fiction book t hat I have ever read. I read it once a year, now.
Feb 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
My attempt at self-improvement!
Feb 13, 2009 rated it liked it
This was a nice book. Don't gossip! Use words of love, gratitude, and caring. A bit dated in its examples, but worth reading. It's a reminder to be kindest to those who mean the most to you.
Jun 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of the most important books I've read.
Thomas Blake
Jan 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Very convicting in a good way. A great book for anyone concerned with controlling your tongue from a Biblical perspective.
Aaron Monts
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must-read!
Craig Bolton
"Words That Hurt, Words That Heal: How to Choose Words Wisely and Well by Joseph Telushkin (1998)"
Aug 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is so great. It is a short read and will really help your relationships if you take it to heart. I should read it for a refresher course often!
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Joseph Telushkin (born 1948) is an American rabbi, lecturer, and best selling author. His more than 15 books include several volumes about Jewish ethics, Jewish Literacy, as well as "Rebbe", a New York Times best seller released in June 2014

Telushkin was raised in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Solomon and Hellen Telushkin. He attended Yeshiva of Flatbush where met his future co-author Dennis Prag
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