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The Power of the Tongue

A midrash retold by Peninnah Schram

Read by Al Franken

A classic midrash draws inspiration from Proverb 18, which tells us “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” In this midrash-inspired monsa, we find the parts of the body caught in a power struggle. But where does real human power lie?

This midrash has been adapted many times. You can read a direct Yiddish translation from a midrashic collection in דער צדיק און דער גוטער וועג or in this 1922 Yiddish school primer: דער אָנפאַנגער.

This story was originally recorded as part of the series One People, Many Stories, produced by the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles, ListenUp radio, Johanna Cooper, and Abbie Phillips.