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, September 27, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon ט חשון - Cheshvan 9 - Thirty-Ninth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

It is obvious that one who acclimates himself to constantly [partake] in this sin [of Lashon HaRa], is consequently punished with poverty and [suffers from] privation, as well as other troubles. [These punishments that he suffers] are also constant, [measure for measure for constantly involving himslef in the sin of Lashon HaRa, and take] the place of confirmed tzara’as that was fitting to [come] upon him due to this [sin], as mentioned earlier, in chapter five.

The great punishment [that the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa suffers] has been explained [to us as follows]: He [suffers] in this world and,
due to [the sin of Lashon HaRa, he is also] punished with constant troubles and poverty. At times, [the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa is] even punished with death, Heaven Forbid.

For the habitual speakers of Lashon HaRa, it is insufficient that they cause themselves to be stricken [with severe punishments due to] this [sin], but [they also cause] the [entire] world to be afflicted in the same manner [as they had been afflicted] as a consequence of their sin [of Lashon HaRa]. Due to the sin [of Lashon HaRa, the habitual speakers of Lashon HaRa effect] a decrease in the world’s food supply. [The above follows] that which is written in [maseches] Ta’anis (7b), “Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi said: “The rains are only stopped on account of those who speak Lashon HaRa[1], as it says, [“The north wind cancels the rain and angry faces [arise from] a hidden tongue [that speaks Lashon HaRa]][2]”.” (Mishlei: 25; 23) [This sin of Lashon HaRa] also causes plague, sword, and killing [to come to afflict] the world, as is written previously, in chapter two, in the name of the Holy Zohar[3].

Therefore, the person who desires his life [in this world] and [desires] the life of The World to Come, will guard his tongue from evil and it will be good for him in this [world] and in [The World] to Come.

[1] RaSh”I, in maseches
Ta’anis”, explains that forbidden types of speech, such as talebearing, result in the north wind coming in. The north wind blows away the rain and brings light to the world. HaShem exhibits an “angry countenance” by causing the north wind to blow the rain-clouds away as a result of the forbidden speech that was spoken.

[2] Metzudas David explains that the north wind “creates” and “gives birth” to the rain. Similarly, speaking Lashon HaRa leads the victim of Lashon HaRa to “give birth” to an angry countenance against the person who spoke against him. The varying explanations between RaSh”I in the beginning of his commentary on the teaching in maseches
Ta'anis and Metzudas David and RaSh"I, commenting on the pasuk in sefer Mishlei”, are as a result of different understandings of the term “ticholel” – “תחולל” which stem from the following:

RaSh”I, in maseches
Ta'anis”, says that “ticholel” is from the same root as “lo yachel divaro” – “לא יחל דברו” which means that his “words will not lie devoid [of action]…” (Bamidbar: 30; 3) However, RaSh"I on the pasuk in sefer Mishlei”, as well as at the conclusion of his explanation on this section of the gemara, in maseches Ta'anis”, agrees with the explanation of Metzudas David.

Metzudas David, in Metzudas Tzion, says that “ticholel” relates to the term “cholalti” (Tehillim: 51; 7) which means “created”.

Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi’s teaching that rain stops as a result of Lashon HaRa clearly follows RaSh”I’s explanation. However, based on the commentary of Metzudas David we can see how distraught a person can become if they are the victim of Lashon HaRa. If one were to combine part of the explanations of RaSh”I and Metzudas David, they might get the following explanation: There are three partners in the creation of man. HaShem contributes the soul. Therefore, when an individual’s feelings are hurt, the soul is suffering. If someone speaks Lashon HaRa against another individual, the victim will almost inevitably feel hurt in some way, often leading to the hurt feeling being expressed as an angry countenance. As the speaker of Lashon HaRa causes the victim of his Lashon HaRa to exhibit an angry countenance, HaShem, measure-for-measure, expresses an angry countenance and thereby holds back the rain.

[3] This teaching is found in the Zohar on Parshas
Pekudei, volume 2, 264, 2 – 265, 1. The quote is found in the first paragraph of the “Fifteenth Day”.

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