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, August 09, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon י"ח תשרי - Tishrei 18 - Eighteenth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Chapter 3

In [this chapter, we] shall explain that eternal life and the good of this world are dependant on Guarding of the Tongue

Furthermore, [in addition to the great damage that comes to the world due to Lashon HaRa], we can say that Dovid HaMelech[1], Alav HaShalom[2], made the essence of eternal life [in The World to Come] and the good of this world dependent in Guarding [of] the Tongue. For it is known that the soul of a person is called a living soul, since, because of it, a person will live eternal life. The holy soul of the habitual speaker of slander leaves him because of this [sin], as is written in the Holy Zohar[3].

[Similarly], in this world [the habitual speaker of slander] is designated to experience suffering, [the suffering being] the fruits of the bitter sin [of Lashon HaRa]. As explained in the Yerushalmi[4], a person is punished on account of this sin [of slander] in this world and the [principle punishment] remains intact [for him] in The World to Come.

The man who restrains his mouth from speaking the forbidden words merits the life of The World to Come and the light hidden [reserved] for the righteous. [This] resembles that which the GR”A[5] wrote (in his letter “Alim L’Tirufah”) in the name of the Midrash, [where he states] that for every moment that a person restrains his mouth [from speaking Lashon HaRa], he merits the hidden light that no angel or person can imagine.

Therefore, Dovid HaMelech, Alav HaShalom, warned us (Tehillim: 34; 13-14), [as follows]: “Who is the man who desires life?” – in The World to Come, “and to see good” – in this world? [Then] “guard your mouth from evil...”.

There is another obvious matter through which we can understand the shamefulness of the bitter sin [of Lashon HaRa], that being the known superiority of the person over all other [forms of] life [in this world] is [the power of speech], which The Holy One, Blessed is He, added [to the person with] the “speaking soul”, as it is written (Bereishis: 2; 7) “And He Breathed into his nostrils the soul of life, and man became a living being”. Onkelos[6] explains [a “living soul” to be]: “the speaking spirit”. The person, [referred to as the “speaking spirit”] is only [considered to be a “speaking spirit”] if he causes improvement through this power of speech [that is] provided to him by The Holy One, Blessed is He. If [the individual] uses his speech for [that which is] evil, he is inferior to the animals that are on the face of the earth, for, in any event, [the animals are] not be corrupted [by forbidden speech]. For this [reason], the pasuk was very precise [to state] “Who is the man?…”, for, if [one does not use their speech properly], they are not in the class of “man”. Specifically, [in the case where the slanderer] is Torah observant, his shamefulness is thereby more evident, he being comparable to a great palace with a tanner’s gutter situated in its midst. [This comparison] is similar to that [teaching] which is brought in tractate Derech Eretz[7].

[1] Dovid HaMelech” is King David.

[2] Alav HaShalom means “Peace is Upon Him”. “Peace” here refers to one of the names of G-d.

[3] This teaching is found in the Zohar, Parshas Tazria , volume 3, 46b.

The Zohar states that The Divine Presence of HaShem appears to the person before passing away, attracting the soul out of the body. If worthy, the soul attaches itself to G-d’s Presence. If the person was a sinner and he is unworthy, the soul wanders alone until it is deemed fit to be judged in gehinnom (purgatory) and is subsequently rewarded.

[4] This teaching from the Talmud Yerushalmi is found in maseches
Peah (ch. 1, halacha 1).

[5] The GR”A (Acronym for Gaon Rav Eliyahu, Rabbi Eliyahu Kramer (1720 – 1797), commonly known as the Vilna Gaon (Great one of Vilna).

[6] Onkelos wrote an Aramaic translation of the Torah which is also a commentary, at times, Onkelos does not literally translate the verse, but rather offers an explanation of the verse. Onkelos' commentary is also referred to as
Targum”, which means commentary.

[7] This teaching is found in
Derech Eretz Rabbah, in chapter three, quoted in the name of Rabbi Elazar ben Ya’akov. Derech Eretz Rabbah adds that just as a fragrant smelling spice has a foul odor after passing through the digestive system, so too is a respected person considered despicable upon saying that which is looked down upon, the offense appearing similar to a tanner’s gutter that flows through a palace.

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