As I've been reflecting upon my Dad's Menschlichkeit, I recall several of his favorite sayings and cliches. In his own silent, stoic way, he suffered the abuses of some. Yet when questioned he would most often change the subject. Why? He may have never heard of Sefer Shmiras Halashon, nor of its author R Israel Meir HaCohen, nevertheless he used to pithily say:
"If you have nothing good to say about a man, then say nothing at all."
What words of wisdom - and compassion. Why compound a situation by speaking ill of people?
It would be misleading to say my Dad OBM never complained about anyone. My Dad was a great Mensch but not a perfect Saint! But in reflecting how little he complained, and also how briefly he complained on those occasions, I am in awe of how little he paid back those who made his life difficult.
Here is a quote:
from the poet Thomas Carlyle, who translated the phrase from German in Sartor Resartus, 1831:
Speech too is great, but not the greatest. As the Swiss Inscription says: Sprecfien ist silbern, Schweigen ist golden - Speech is silver, Silence is golden
Words to ponder
Words to live by.