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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

The Power of Words

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

At the beginning of Parshat Matot, in this double Parsha of Matot/Masei, we learn about the importance of words and vows. Words are as familiar to us as breathing. They are so plentiful that we take them for granted. Once your words leave your mouth they no longer belong just to you. Promises, oaths, pledges are heard and torah takes seriously that they will be fulfilled. We spend a great deal of time around the high holidays begging forgiveness for words that we have uttered in vain, either to other people or to God. Not every word or idea that we have is fulfilled, but being cautious about our words and their potential is important. This poem explores words, their creation and what happens when they are shared.



We take them for granted

Thousands are born from us each day

Millions each year

At times barely a trickle

and sometimes

like a waterfall,

cascading downward with force,

with power and speed

they ripple outward.

As we walk the paths of our lives

we are surrounded by

A Milky Way of words

They surround us

Inside and outside of us.

Each word

a castle,

letters their building blocks

each beautiful word

unique to see and hear

with an identity of its own.

A word starts as a thought

Is it in our minds

or is it our hearts?

our souls?

In that place

the act of creation begins

mirroring the creation of the world.

And the word begins

deep within,

a shimmering bubble of intention,

an inkling of interest,

the very tightest kernel of curiosity

shuffled and rearranged.

Words are formed

to satisfy

the deep human need

to Connect

the Breishit of language.

The Creator’s gift

to humanity.

The spark of creation

repeats itself

over and over again

Letters fly and unite.

In you and out of you.

Can you see it?

Words created

Worlds created

To serve

To share

To command

To question

To argue

To profit,

To proffer,

To please

To promise

To promise

And then dance of language begins

A tango

of tongue and teeth

A waltz

of throat and chest

A swing

of breath and palate

Stops and starts,

stops and starts.

A sound and then a pause

and the dance starts again

And then

A word escapes from your lips


your inner universe of thought

Through your lips it is propelled

A bubble of an idea

Transversing through space

Flying at the speed of sound

Between you and the other.

It finds its mark

And it lands

It is heard








It is Shared

And in an instant

What was yours becomes


Becomes ours

Your words

Your Creations,

No longer are yours alone

Your prose is theirs

Your poetry is shared



Forever crocheted into their fabric.


Weightless they begin

all potential and idea

becoming heavier,



There is power in these words

The power of each sentence

each question

each promise

each pause.

Each ending a beginning


their potential

rising and landing


yours to his

to ours

and then



to be fulfilled.

אִישׁ֩ כִּֽי־יִדֹּ֨ר נֶ֜דֶר לַֽיהוָ֗ה אֽוֹ־הִשָּׁ֤בַע שְׁבֻעָה֙ לֶאְסֹ֤ר אִסָּר֙ עַל־נַפְשׁ֔וֹ לֹ֥א יַחֵ֖ל דְּבָר֑וֹ כְּכָל־הַיֹּצֵ֥א מִפִּ֖יו יַעֲשֶֽׂה׃

If a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath imposing an obligation on himself, he shall not break his pledge; he must carry out all that has crossed his lips.

Numbers 30:2 (Translation from Sefaria)

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