Please Learn in the Merit of:

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

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon: י"א תשרי - Tishrei 11 - Eleventh Day: The Gate of Memory

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Guarding the Tongue

First Section – The Gate of Memory – שער הזכירה

Chapter 1

This chapter provides the explanation why the Torah is so strict regarding this sin [of forbidden speech]

In Tehillim (34; 13 – 14) [the following] is written: “Who is the man who desires life who loves days to see “good”? Guard your tongue from evil [and your lips from speaking deceit]”. The commentators[1] have explained that when the verse states “who desires life”, that it [refers to] the eternal life in The World to Come, [while the phrase] “loves days to see “good” [is in reference to life in] this world, [such life] is comparable to days relative to the eternal life [of The World to Come]. It is seemingly very perplexing that the verse singles out that we should specifically guard [ourselves] from [committing] this sin. In the Torah, aren’t we commanded [to uphold] 248 positive commandments and 365 negative commandments, in reference to all of them HaShem Yisbarach has told us in Parshas Nitzavim (Devarim: 30; 15-16) “See I have given before you today the life and the good… that I command you today to love HaShem your G-d to go in His path and to guard His commandments, ordinances, and judgments…”?

Behold, in the opening of sefer Chofetz Chaim[2] we have explained [and enumerated] the many negative and positive commandments that one is accustomed to transgress as a result of this bitter sin [of Lashon HaRa], such [not being the case with] any of the other transgressions in the Torah. The adoption of the simple meaning of the pasuk is [therefore] very fitting “Who is the man [who desires life],” “guard [your tongue from evil],” “distance yourself from evil [and do good]”. [By noting “guarding one’s tongue from evil” and “distance yourself from evil”,] King David, Alav HaShalom[3], wanted to hint to us in a general manner that we should guard ourselves from the sins between man and his fellow as well as from the sins between man and G-d. [Regarding] the grouping of sins between man and his fellow, King David, Alav HaShalom, advised the person who desires life to guard his tongue from evil in all of its specifics, and thereby he will be careful in all [of the sins between man and his fellow].

It is obvious that once one is careful to refrain from sins involving [the attribute of] speech, [the individual will [then] eventually reach the point where he refrains from all sins between man and his fellow. The individual will eventually refrain from all sins between man and his fellow, for when one avoids evils of the tongue, to] never speak derisively about his fellow, observing all of the laws of proper speech[4], even when [his speaking] would not cause damage to his fellow, he will definitely be careful to avoid robbery, theft, and all other sins [committed] between man and his fellow. [In order for one’s proper speech to lead to observance of all of the mitzvos between man and his fellow, one must be careful to observe all the laws of speech, such as] avoid speaking against his fellow if it would cause [the victim] to lose his livelihood, [cause him] embarrassment, [or] strengthen a dispute. [Once one follows the laws of proper speech], having accepted upon himself not to cause anything unfavorable or shameful to befall his fellow [as a consequence of his improper speech], he will [then] eventually become clean from all sins between man and his fellow.

[1] "The commentators" refer to Metzudas David and Tanchuma, Parshas Metzora b.

[2] Sefer "Chofetz Chaim" is the Chofetz Chaim’s work published together with "Shmiras HaLashon" that details the laws of Lashon HaRa.
Immediately following his introduction, sefer "Chofetz Chaim" includes, an opening, one chapter of which enumerates all of the negative commandments related to Lashon HaRa, another which lists all of the positive commandments related to Lashon HaRa, and a third chapter which lists the curses that relate to the sin of speaking Lashon HaRa.

[3] “
Alav HaShalom means "The Peace is upon him", "Shalom" referring to HaShem. This phrase is used in reference to someone who is no longer alive.

[4] This is discussed in the introduction to sefer "Chofetz Chaim".

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