Shabbaton Outline: The Power of Speech

This Shabbaton explores the power of speech.

For more information about how to run this Shabbaton, please contact Rabbi Phil Karesh of Midwest NCSY.

Theme: The Power of Speech

NCSYers will consider why speech is so powerful, and how their words have the power to create or destroy. Speech can empower other people, or tear them down. NCSYers will also learn some of the laws of lashon hara, and about situations in which one may be allowed to share negative information.

Opening Skit (includes video):
Bullying Skit

Act out this skit to introduce the concept of the power of words through considering the dangers of bullying.

Learning Session:
The Laws of Speech on Social Media

In this session, the NCSYers will examine 3 sample conversations on social media and explore whether or not they are permissible according to the halachos of forbidden speech (lashon hara). The 3 scenarios cover the following questions:

  1. Are you allowed to share negative information about someone in order to prevent them (or someone else) from harm?
  2. Should you apologize if you gossiped about someone? What if they will be upset to know that you spoke behind their back?
  3. If everyone knows about a story, can you talk about it?

PREPARATION: Before running this discussion group, print out several copies of the 3 social media conversations as large posters (11x17"), and give a copy of all 3 posters to each group.

The Power of Speech

Split your teens into groups, with an advisor in charge of each group. Each advisor should lead this Discussion about the Power of Speech with their group of teens.

The discussion includes the following points:

  • The first sin of Adam and Chava involved misuse of the power of speech.
  • Words can create or destroy.
  • God created the world with speech.
  • Humans are different from animals because of our power of speech.
  • By using our speech properly, we are emulating God.


"Make it Positive" iPhone Stickers

Print these iPhone stickers and distribute to your teens to remind them to be careful with what they say. Teens can place the stickers on the back of their iPhones. To print the stickers, contact Elisha Karen from KenCo Label: