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

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon: י"ג תשרי - Tishrei 13 - Thirteenth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

It seems that [it is fitting] to explain of [the severity of the sin of forbidden speech] in a number of ways, [which shall be done] with the help of HaShem Yisbarach. [See above in the preface where we discussed yet another matter concerning [the severity of the sin of Lashon HaRa].] [The severity of the sin of Lashon HaRa] is discussed in the Yerushalmi[1] [where it is taught] that just as the reward of Torah learning is comparable to [the reward] of all the positive mitzvos [combined], similarly, the punishment of Lashon HaRa is comparable to [the punishment] of all the sins [combined, the exact quote of which we shall transcribe later on]. We find that Torah learning is the greatest of all positive mitzvos, and, corresponding to it, Lashon HaRa is the gravest among all of the sins. The reason for this appears obvious. For just as with regard to the basic elements that HaShem Yisbarach embedded in the world, they being fire, wind, water, and dirt, an ethereal element is much more powerful than a corporeal element, to the degree that the more corporeal element is considered nearly insignificant by comparison to it. For as we observe with our senses, when fire overcomes a corporeal entity [the fire] destroys it, similarly when the element of wind gains power, it can break apart mountains and smash boulders, as the verse states (Melachim I: 19; 11), “A great and mighty wind breaks apart mountains and smashes boulders”. This reality applies in supernal matters, such as [the mitzvos of] tzitzis[2], lulav[3], shofar[4], as well as to all [of the other] commandments. Though these mitzvos achieve rectifications in the upper worlds, and through their [performance] man is also sanctified to HaShem, as is written (Bamidbar: 15; 40), “And you shall perform all My commandments, and you shall be sanctified to your G-d,” nevertheless, there is no comparison between [performance of all other mitzvos] and Torah learning. [This follows that which] is [taught] in the Yerushalmi[5], [as follows]: All the mitzvos are not comparable to one word of Torah [learning]. The reason for [the superiority of Torah learning over all other mitzvos] is that all [other] mitzvos are connected to the corporeal. The commandment of tzitzis is impossible to fulfill unless one wears a physical garment, similarly sukkah and lulav, and, in this vein, all of the positive commandments [cannot be fulfilled except with a physical object]. The aforementioned is not true regarding Torah learning, it being dependent on the power of speech which is a power that is obviously solely spiritual in nature. Therefore, [one’s] involvement [in Torah learning] results in effects in the upper worlds that are awesome [in magnitude. In light of the powerful spiritual effects of Torah study], the power of learning Torah is equivalent to all other [mitzvos. In contrast, when one speaks that which is forbidden,] his words achieve the opposite [effects] and can have a damaging effect [beyond the damage caused by other sins]. Because of [the] physical nature [of many of the sins], when one [commits one of the other transgressions] with one of the physical limbs, the resulting damage in the upper worlds is not so great. This is not the case with the sins of slander and tale bearing which are ethereal in nature; the damage [inflicted] above, in the upper worlds [due to these sins], is extremely strong and great, and therefore the punishment for [these sins] is also equivalent to that of all [other sins].

[1] This teaching is found in the Jerusalem Talmud: Peah, Ch. 1, Halacha 1; page 4b.

[2] Tzitzis is a four-corned garment with fringes on it (Bamidbar: 15; 37 – 40). “And you shall see it and you shall remember all of the commandments of HaShem and you shall perform them, and you shall not stray after your heart and after your eyes which you stray after. In order that you shall remember and you shall perform all of My commandments and you shall be holy to your G-d
.” (Bamidbar: 15; 39 – 40)

[3] Lulav is the palm frond that is taken during the holiday of Sukkot along with the three branches of myrtle leaves, two branches willow leaves, and esrog. (Vayikra: 23; 40)

[4] Ram’s horn that is blown on the holidays of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. (Vayikra: 23; 24)

[5] This teaching is found in the Jerusalem Talmud, maseches
Peah, chapter 1, halacha 1.

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