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

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon י חשון - Cheshvan 10 - Fortieth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Chapter 9

In [this Chapter we] Shall Explain [Concerning] the Deplorable Situation [One Will Find Himself in] as a Result of this [Sin of Lashon HaRa], in Future Times

Behold, in the previous chapters, [we] explained [concerning the types of] punishment[s that] the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa [suffers] in this world. Now, [in this chapter], we shall explain
[concerning] the punishment [awaiting the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa] in the future, [that being in The World to Come].

Behold, our Sages of Blessed Memory have explained to us in [maseches
Sotah (42a)], that the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa [belongs to] one of the four categories [of people] who do not receive [G-d’s] Presence. [The gemara states], “Rav Yirmiyah the son of Abba said: ‘Four groups [of people] do not receive G-d’s Divine Presence: The group of flatterers, the group of liars, the group of mockers, [and] the group of speakers of Lashon HaRa. The group of mockers [do not receive G-d’s Presence], as it is written…[1] The group of habitual speakers of Lashon HaRa [do not receive G-d’s Presence], as it is written, “For You are G-d who does not desire evil, evil will not dwell with You [in Your midst].” (Tehillim: 5; 5) You are righteous HaShem, evil will not dwell in Your “habitation””. (Sotah, 42a) This section deals with the sin of the habitual speakers of Lashon HaRa, as RaSh”I explained over there[2] [on the passage in the gemara]. Furthermore, the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa is referred to by the name “ra” – “evil”, as is taught in Aggadas Mishlei[3] on the [following] pasuk [quoted in sefer Mishlei]: “Deceit is in the heart of one who dwells in evil”. (12; 20) “Rav Chama the son of Rabbi Chanina said: All those who speak with their fellow and eat with their fellow and speak Lashon HaRa against him – The Holy One, Blessed is He, [refers to that person as] “evil”…[4]

[The speaker of Lashon HaRa] is also sentenced to [be punished] in the third sector of gehinnom because of this sin [of Lashon HaRa], as is [taught] in Midrash HaNe’elam on [the Book of] Ruth.

Take note of the great punishment [that befalls the speakers of Lashon HaRa], for due to the greatness of their sin [of Lashon HaRa], gehinnom is barely able to cleanse them from this sin. [This follows] that which is explained in Tanna D'vei Eliyahu,[5] [as follows]: “Just as the evildoers speak Lashon HaRa and [that Lashon HaRa] rises to [HaShem’s] Throne of Glory, measure-for-measure, angels descend from the “Mouth” of G-d [to] take the evildoers and throw them into the depths of gehinnom. At the moment [that these speakers of Lashon HaRa are thrown into gehinnom], gehinnom responds and says before The Holy One, Blessed is He: “Master of the Universe, I do not have the ability to exact sufficient retribution from them in accordance with their punishment. The entire Universe is unable to provide them sufficient retribution [for their sin of Lashon HaRa, for] the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa has sinned from the earth to the Heavens! Rather, first shoot your arrows from Above, [in Heaven], and afterwards [the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa] will receive rosem cinders from us from below, [inside the earth], as it says [in
Tehillim] “What shall the deceitful tongue give to you and what shall it add to you? The sharp arrows of The Strong One, with rosem cinders[6].” (120; 3 – 4) [In this context], “Strong One” refers only to The Holy One, Blessed is He, as it says [in Devarim] (10; 17) “…The G-d – The Great, The Strong…”… We find a similar [teaching to the aforementioned] in [maseches] Arachin (15b), see over there[7]. The [receptive] person must strengthen himself to stand against his [evil inclination in order to avoid] this bitter sin [of Lashon HaRa], especially when aware of the great punishment that would otherwise await the gossiper, [it being] the great prison, [better known as] gehinnom. [Even gehinnom] does not have the wherewithal [to punish the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa] until it is assisted from Above, [from HaShem].

[1] The rest of the quote from the gemara is as follows: “The group of mockers [are not received by HaShem's Divine Presence], as it is written, "...He withdrew His hand [from being with] mockers" (Hoshea: 7; 5), the group of flatterers, as it is written, "For a flatterer does not come before Him." (Iyov: 13; 16), the group of liars, as it is written, "One who speaks lies will not be established before My eyes." (Tehillim: 101; 7), the group of speakers of Lashon HaRa...”

[2] RaSh”I on the gemara in Sotah notes that this section of Tehillim (chapter 5) deals with speakers of Lashon HaRa, as it says in the following pasuk: “For his mouth is not established, their thoughts are of deceit, their throats are an open grave, their tongues cause division.” (Tehillim: 5; 10) RaSh”I explains this pasuk as follows: Their mouths are not established as they make themselves appear as if they love each other, while, in reality, they are enemies. Their throats are open graves as they intend to swallow the work of others.

In the pasuk quoted above from Tehillim, the term “yachalikun” – “יחליקון” is used, while “lips of division” – “sifsei chalakos” – “שפתי חלקות” is found in Tehillim (12; 4) which refers to “lips of division” (alternatively, “lips that speak with import).

[3] This teaching can be found in Aggadas Mishlei 12, remez 959 or Midrash Mishlei, at the beginning of chapter 14.

[4] From what we learn in Aggadas Mishlei, it is evident that the pasuk from Tehillim (5; 5) is referring to the speaker of Lashon HaRa when it states “…evil will not dwell with You.”

[5] This teaching is found in the 18th chapter of Eliyahu Rabba.

[6] RaSh”I explains rosem cinders as follows: “All coals, when extinguished from outside, are similarly extinguished from the inside. [However], when these [rosem cinders] are extinguished on the outside, they are not [necessarily] extinguished on the inside.” Metzudas David adds: [The rosem cinder is similar to] one who speaks Lashon HaRa in private, [though], while in public, speaks smoothly. So too, the rosem cinder appears to be extinguished on the outside, not posing any danger, while, in reality, it is still burning on the inside and is therefore still dangerous. The rosem coal may come from the retama or broom plant.

MaLBI”M explains that Lashon HaRa is comparable to the sharp arrows of the mighty warrior which can kill from a distance. In contrast, the deceitful tongue is compared to the rosem coal which misleads the unsuspecting victim, leading him to approach and be “burned” by the deceitful tongue. The above is similar to one who touches and is thereby burned by the rosem coal, believing it to not pose a danger.

[7] Similarly, the gemara (Arachin, 15b) explains that HaShem shoots down “arrows” while gehinnom offers the rosem cinders to punish the speaker of Lashon HaRa. Rabbi Chama the son of Chanina says that a remedy for the speakers of Lashon HaRa is to involve oneself in Torah. If they are not a Torah scholar, it is recommended that they become lowly of spirit.


Anonymous said...

What are the punishments that are brought down for people that speak lashon hara/motzei shem ra?

Robert Lepor said...

Chapter 9 discusses the punishments, so I would recommend reviewing the entire chapter, beginning with the 6th day of Cheshvan.

Just to summarize: A person could suffer from poverty, a decrease in one's food supply, suffer from the terrible disease of ascara (see note 7 on the 7th day of Cheshvan), and one's Lashon HaRa may even lead to a decrease in the world's food supply. Furthermore, the Chofetz Chaim pointed out earlier in his sefer that death and the sword can be brought down to the world as a result of the sin of Lashon HaRa. I would recommend to read what I have translated so far (as well as the notes) to get a better understanding as to why one who speaks Lashon HaRa may suffer from these punishments, chas v'shalom.

Does that help?

Also, I plan on posting several more days worth of translation this week.

Robert Lepor said...

Over Succos I do not wish to write/publish, so, the next post on this site after this Friday will, G-d Willing, be on Monday, October 16th. In the meantime, this week, b'ezras HaShem, I plan on posting several more posts.