Dear Rabbi Brody,
I confess: I'm 17, a junior in religious high school, and I swear a lot. Everyone always goes on and on how using the swearing words are wrong. But why are they? I mean all they are, are a couple words that don't really mean anything, and the only reason I like using them is because when you can't find a word strong enough to describe how you feel, usually one of the swearing words does the job. Whatever, thanks a lot. From Barbara in Long Island somewhere
That was courageous of you to tell me. The soul is surrounded by three garments - thoughts, speech, and deeds. When you use foul language, you surround your soul in stench, kind of like walking around with completely dirty underwear. Sounds gross? Foul words make your soul feel gross, and they chase away Hashem's Divine Presence, which means that a person who uses filthy language loses Divine guidance and protection. That's when real trouble in your life starts.
Please try to break the habit. The best way to do that is to avoid anger. Since anger comes from arrogance, the more modest a person is, the more he or she steers clear of anger. Remember also, a person with a cheap tongue is a cheap person. You certainly don't want people calling you "cheap" behind your back, especially since you're a quality young lady.
People who use foul language are basically no better than pigs. Even if you dress them in in fancy clothes, pigs remain pigs. A person's speech is the showcase of a person's soul.
Barbara, do your soul a favor and weed the four-letter words out of your vocabulary. Elul is the time for teshuva, for all of us to decide to be just a little bit better than what we used to be. With blessings, LB