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Please learn for the merit of a complete recovery for the following individuals:

Ya'akov Don ben Esther Ahuvah Sharona
Avraham Yishayahu ben Aviva
Perel Leah bas Sima

Please learn in the merit/memory of Eyal ben Uriel, Gil-Ad Michael ben Ophir, Ya'akov Naftali ben Avraham, and Alter Aryeh Leib Reuven ben Sima

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon: י תשרי - Tishrei 10 - Tenth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

[In response to] the second assertion of the evil inclination, [when he states as follows]: “Since it is impossible to follow the law in all of its details, it is better to distance oneself from this trait [of Shmiras HaLashon] altogether”, one should respond: “Would I allow myself to behave this way in my business dealings? For example, if someone saw me zealously running to a business venture that would provide me with a livelihood, and he would ask me: ‘Why do you run? Do you imagine that you will become the richest person in the world as is so-and-so?’ I would certainly answer him: ‘Because I will not be [as wealthy] as [that person], must I bury my hand in a collection plate[1] rather than earn a living?’ If I would answer such in matters of the mortal body, what would I answer regarding matters of the soul? Because I will not be able to guard all details and facets of this trait [of Shmiras HaLashon] whereby I would ascend to a great and holy level for eternity,[2]* shall I completely desist from [maintaining my] soul [by not] guarding my mouth with all of my ability? Shall I not avoid the class of speakers of Lashon HaRa and other wicked types [of individuals], concerning whom our Sages of Blessed Memory have [taught in maseches Sotah (42a)] that they ‘do not receive G-d’s Presence’?”

This was what Shlomo HaMelech[3], peace be upon him, meant when he said (Koheles: 9; 10): “Everything that you find [the opportunity] to do, perform [it] with your [full] ability!”[4] This [teaching of King Solomon's] comes to inform us that, even if one considers that he will be incapable of completing a commandment according to all of its details, he should nevertheless do all that is within his ability [to complete the mitzvah]. Similarly, our Sages of Blessed Memory have commented (Makos 10a) on the pasuk (Devarim: 4, 41): “Then Moshe set aside three cities[5]….” The pasuk informs us that, even though the three cities [of refuge for manslaughterers] on the [east] of the Jordan River do not accept [refugees] until [the cities of refuge] in the Land of Israel are set aside, and even though Moshe knew that he would not enter the Land of Israel, Moshe Rabbeinu[6], peace be upon him, nevertheless said: “All that is in my power to do, I will do.” (This is similar to the explanation of RaSh"I on the pasuk quoted from Devarim).[7]

With the help of HaShem Yisbarach, we have explained that which we learned from Avos D’Rabbi Nosson, that one should not distance himself “from an unlimited amount.” That which [Avos D’Rabbi Nosson] concludes, “and from work which has no completion”, refers to Torah (as is demonstrated [in Avos D’Rabbi Nosson] by the parable [of the gold dinar][8]).

[You should be] aware that everything [that] we have written in this book concerning the great caution [one must exert regarding] the sin of Lashon HaRa, only applies to [speaking against] one who is yet in the category of “your nation.”[9] However, regarding those people who deny [that] the Torah [is from] HaShem (even [if they deny] one letter [thereof]), and those who scorn the words of the Sages of Blessed Memory, it is a mitzvah to publicly expose their deceptive opinions and deride them, so that others will not learn from their evil ways (as explained in sefer Chofetz Chaim (Hilchos Lashon HaRa), chapter 8, law 5).[10]

[1] This refers to subsisting from charity. In order for one to qualify for charitable aid from the “collection plate”, he would need to be exceedingly poor. The Chofetz Chaim is explaining that tremendous success need not be the only motivating factor in working to refrain from Lashon HaRa. Indeed, the prospect of avoiding dismal failure should also motivate one’s efforts.

[2] * {Chofetz Chaim's note: According to the Holy Zohar, Parshas Chukas (volume 3, 183b), one who guards his mouth and tongue [from forbidden speech] merits to be dressed in The Holy Spirit and bask for eternity in the concealed light that no angel and creature could measure. As our Sages of Blessed Memory have said (in the letter of the GR”A), and it is brought in Reishis Chochmah (The Gate of Love, chapter 6 – section 54, in the printing of The Complete Reishis Chochmah) in the name of our master, the Rav, Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, of Blessed Memory, [where we learn that] he saw Rav Shushan Sodoth in a dream. In that dream, [Rav Cordevaro] saw that every single hair of his beard was radiant like the light of the torch. [Rav Sodoth merited] this because he was careful to avoid wasteful speech.}

Shlomo HaMelech” is King Solomon.

[4] The entire pasuk reads as follows: “Everything that you find the opportunity to do, perform [it] with your full ability, for there is no accounting, knowledge, or wisdom in the grave which you are going there.” (Koheles: 9; 10)

The pasuk in Hebrew reads: :

".כל אשר תמצא ידך לעשות בכחך עשה כי אין מעשה וחשבון ודעת וחכמה בשאול אשר אתה הלך שמה"

Targum Yonasan ben Uziel explains that one does not have the ability to perform good deeds and charity after his death. Therefore, in order to benefit himself for after his passing, he should perform those actions mandated by the Torah whereby he will receive his reward in The World to Come.

Metzudas David explains that one should strive to reach his potential in performance of the commandments, as well as in enjoyment of the permissible pleasures of this world, for after one’s limited life in this world, he can neither perform mitzvos nor benefit from the pleasures of this world.

[5] If someone would commit murder negligently, he could flee to a City of Refuge to avoid the vengeance of the victim’s relatives. Additionally, even a willing murderer could flee to those cities to avoid such vengeance until he would be forced to face trial.

[6] Rabbeinu” means “our teacher.

[7] RaSh"I comments (Devarim: 4; 41) that Moshe was determined to set aside cities of refuge on the eastern side of the Jordan River as soon he possibly could, despite the fact that those cities would not be required to exist until long after his death. Nevertheless, Moshe said , ‘A mitzvah that is possible to fulfill, I will fulfill [immediately].’
(Makos, 10a)

[8] See footnote 3 on 6 Tishrei.

[9] Vayikra: 19; 16

[10] Chapter 8, law 5 of sefer
Chofetz Chaim details that the laws of Lashon HaRa require one to refrain from speaking against a Jew who is of “your nation.” This refers to those who accept the Torah and mitzvos.

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