Toddler Talmud

When my daughter was 3, she taught me Talmud.

One morning I was making her waffles. When the toaster oven rang I said, “Oh, your waffles are ready.”

She said, “Why did you say ‘oy?’”

“I didn’t, I said ‘oh.’”

“You said ‘oy’” she insisted.

“OK,” I conceded, “I said oy.”

“Aha!” she said, eyes gleaming with toddler triumph. “You misunderstood yourself.”

We assume that we know what we are saying. But the Talmud advises, “Let your ear hear what your mouth is saying.” Too often we say things without considering their implication, or grasping the way in which they will be heard. Sometimes, in short, we misunderstand ourselves.  

My daughter rephrased the Talmudic insight, one on which a great deal of psychoanalysis is based. We do not always know what we are saying. We should pay closer attention. 

But, just for the record, I said “oh.”         

Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Follow his teachings at Wolpe.



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About the Author
Named the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California.