In the amazing letter written by the Vilna Gaon, he writes:

⁦But the main way to merit Olam Haba is by guarding one's tongue. That is worth more than all the Torah and good deeds. This is the meaning of (Isaiah 32:9) "tranquil women" (Berachos 17a) because the mouth is the holiest of the holy.

How does “tranquil women” relate to the mouth being holy?

  • Possibly see Penei Yehoshua there who explains that the gemara refers to that which the women receive reward for their husband's Torah learning, but this symbiosis can only occur through purity of the mouth.
    – pcoz
    Jul 15, 2021 at 1:54
  • Perhaps the Vilna Gaon understands the Gemara in Berachos as attaching this passuk to the pesukim beforehand which speak about speaking eloquently and not villainy. This would explain why the Gemara says it refers to Olam Habbah instead of Eretz Yisroel before the churban, which are the pesukim afterwards. The Maharsha and others point out the discrepancy, but by attaching it to the prior pesukim the question is alleviated.
    – Chatzkel
    Jul 15, 2021 at 2:24

1 Answer 1


The point the Vilna Gaon is trying to emphasize is guarding one's tongue, Rav Dovid Altschuler in his Metzudos Zion and Rav Meir Leibush Wisser - the Malbi"m, both comment on that verse explaining the term "שאנן" to connote tranquility that comes from silence. Therefore this verse is quite apropos in buttressing the notion of watching one's speech, or remaining quiet and refraining from speaking vainly.

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