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

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon ט"ז תשרי - Tishrei 16 - Sixteenth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Behold, it is known that the arousal Above, [in Heaven], is dependent upon the arousal below, [on earth]. Therefore, if the attribute of peace is found among the Jewish People and there is no slander among them below [in this world, then], similarly, Above, [in Heaven], the Satan is unable to prosecute against the Jews even if, Heaven Forbid, idolatry, the most severe of sins, is practiced. [This teaching resembles] that which is written in Midrash Shir HaShirim[1], [as follows]: Even if, Heaven Forbid, the Jewish People serve idolatry, and there is peace amongst them – it is as if The Holy One, Blessed is He, says: “The Satan does not [so much as] make contact with them, as it says (Hoshea: 4; 17): “Ephraim is attached to idolatry, abstain from him”. The intention [of our Sages], is that The Holy One Blessed is He ingrained in the Satan, that in this [type of situation, the Satan] cannot make any contact in the midst [of the Jewish People]. Similarly, our Sages of Blessed Memory have said[2] that the generation of Achav, though they were idolaters, would [nevertheless] go down to war and [always be] victorious because there was no slander in their midst. [The fact] that they did not slander [the prophet] Ovadiah, who kept alive the one-hundred prophets, is proof that [the generation of Achav did not speak slander. Therefore, Achav was victorious in war], for there is a general rule in all matters [that one is treated] measure for measure[3]. Therefore, just as a person overcomes himself and controls his mouth so as not to speak that which is disgraceful against his fellow, and, [as well, refrains] from inciting quarrels against him, similarly, the Heavenly prosecutor is unable to open his mouth to speak [words of] prosecution [against the person who did not speak slander]. This is not the case when [there is] slander among the Jews below [in this world], Heaven Forbid, for aside from [the fact] that the habitual speaker of slander arouses prosecution against himself because of his sins, as we will write later in the name of our Sages of Blessed Memory, he [also] arouses the power of prosecution against the entire Jewish People. Through this [act of slander], the Satan comes and prosecutes against the Jewish People on account of their sins, demanding [that] judgment [be meted out] upon them. As it were, it is necessary for HaShem to punish the Jewish People on account of this [sin of slander]. Who [is the] cause [of] all of this [punishment]? The one who spoke slander [in this world].

[Chofetz Chaim’s note: In my opinion this is the meaning of the [following] verse
(Bamidbar: 23; 21) [in Parshas Balak”]: “He did not focus on the sins of Ya’akovHaShem his G-d is with him…” The explanation is: When does He not focus [on the sins of the Jewish People]? At the time when HaShem his G-d is with him. However, if, Heaven Forbid, the sin of slander [is present] among the Jewish People, this thereby causes the departure of HaShem’s Presence, and then, Heaven Forbid, HaShem focuses on their matters.][4]

Behold, from all of this we are able to understand the great hatred that The Holy One, Blessed is He, possesses toward this speaker [of slander]. For, just as the father, though he hits his son upon understanding that the matter conveyed [about his son] is true, it being of necessity to fulfill the will of the conveyor of information, however, great hatred is aroused in the heart [of the father] toward the person who related the information when he understands that the objective [of the speaker] was not intended for the benefit of his son, but rather, [the speaker intended] to complain about him. All the more so, the above is true in this matter, for it is known that The Holy One, Blessed is He, loves the individual more than the individual loves himself, wanting only that which is good for the Jewish People. [Therefore, HaShem does not want anyone to speak any] slander against [the Jewish People]. The [above] relates to that which our Sages of Blessed Memory have said[5] on the verse [in sefer Yeshayahu (6; 6), as follows]: “and in his hand is a coal”; The Holy One, Blessed is He, said to the angel: “Shatter the mouth that spoke slander against My children”.[6] The speaker of [Lashon HaRa] causes the opposite of all of this [good which HaShem wishes upon the Jewish People, negating from that good that is provided to the Jewish People, leading rather to their punishment]. Therefore, [based on the above teaching, we can better understand why one who speaks slander against the Jewish People] is [viewed as] very abominable in the Eyes of HaShem Yisbarach.

[1] This teaching is found in Bamidbar Rabbah (11; 7) and in Bereishis Rabbah (38; 6).

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

[3] This teaching concerning Achav's victories in battle, is discussed later in this book, in chapter 4.

[4] This teaching can be found in Midrash Rabbah Parshas Shoftim (Devarim Rabbah Parsha 5, 10 – and at the end of Parsha 6).

[5] This teaching is quoted from Yalkut Shimoni on sefer
Yeshayahu, remez 406.

[6] This verse from sefer
Yeshayahu (6; 6), describes the punishment borne to Yeshayahu for the slander he spoke against the Jewish People. In the previous verse Yeshayahu said “And I said: ‘Woe to me for I have been silenced, for I am a man of impure lips and in the midst of a nation of impure lips do I reside, for my eyes have seen The King, HaShem, Master of Legions.’” (Yeshayahu: 6; 5) This verse then reads, “One of the angels flew to me, in his hand was a coal, with tongs he had taken it from atop the altar.” According to RaSh”I, once the angel touches the coal to Yeshayahu’s mouth he is forgiven for his sin of shaming the Jewish People by describing them as a “nation of impure lips”. The verse of Yeshayahu’s punishment reads, “And he touched it to my mouth and He said, “Behold, this has been touched to your lips and your willful sin has been removed and your inadvertent sin has been atoned.” (Yeshayahu: 6; 7)

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