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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, September 26, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon ח חשון - Cheshvan 8 - Thirty-Eighth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Furthermore, we find [another teaching that discusses the severe consequences for the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa] in Midrash Aggados Bereishis, [as follows][1]: “In future times, everyone aside from the snake will be healed[2]. Similarly, the one who speaks Lashon HaRa against his fellow will not be healed in future times, as it says, “If the snake bites because it was not charmed, and there is no gain for the speaker of Lashon HaRa.[3] (Koheles: 10; 11)

Chofetz Chaim’s note: [The following teaching] is brought in Midrash Rabbah, Parshas Bereishis (parsha 20; 1): “Rabbi Levi said: “In the future, The Holy One, Blessed is He, will take the idolaters[4] and lower them into gehinnom[5]. [Whereupon being lowered into gehinnom, The Holy One, Blessed is He] will say to them: “Why were you penalizing My children, [the Jewish People]? [The idolaters] will say to Him [in response]: “[There were those] from [among] them and in their midst who would come and speak Lashon HaRa, one person against his fellow.” The Holy One, Blessed is He, would [then] take these [idolaters] and these [Jews who spoke Lashon HaRa] and lower them into gehinnom.

We also learn in Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer[6] “All those who speak Lashon HaRa against their fellow in private will not have a portion in The World to Come[7], as it says, “One who speaks Lashon HaRa against his fellow in private, I shall cut him off.”
(Tehillim: 101; 5) ([He will be cut off] permanently as it says in maseches Arachin, (15b).) Another pasuk states, “Cursed is one who smites his fellow in private”. (Devarim: 27; 24) [You should] know [that one who speaks Lashon HaRa against his fellow in private will never be healed]. Come and take note of that which [befell] the serpent who spoke Lashon HaRa between The Holy One, Blessed is He, and Adam and his helper[8], [Chavah]. [For this sin of Lashon HaRa that the snake spoke], The Holy One, Blessed is He, cursed [the snake] that his food would be dirt, as it says, “And you shall eat dirt all of the days of your life.” (Bereshis: 3; 14)

The explanation [of the punishment of the snake, is as follows]: Just as
it is written by [the punishment of the serpent], “all the days of your life” which definitely means that [the snake] will not be healed even in the days of Mashiach, so too, [the speaker of Lashon HaRa] will never be healed [even during the period of Mashiach. This follows that which our Sages of Blessed Memory] have said in [maseches] Berachos (12b), [as follows]: “The days of your life” [refer to life] this world, [while] “all the days of your life” include the period of Mashiach. Similarly, I have also seen in the holy books, that one who speaks Lashon HaRa experiences a decrease [in the availability of] his food supply, similar to the snake whose food supply was decreased.

[1] This teaching is found in
chapter 78 ofMidrash Aggadas B'reishis on Parshas Bereishis.

[2] The snake will not be healed, for it related Lashon HaRa directed against HaShem, to Chavah, thus leading to the mortality of man and Adam and Chavah’s banishment from Gan Eden, among other things. The snake told Chavah that HaShem did not want people eating from the eitz ha’da’as (tree of knowledge of good and evil), “For G-d knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you shall be like G-d, knowing good and evil.” (Bereishis: 3; 5) According to Bereishis Rabbah (19; 4), Rabbi Yehoshua of Sichnin quoted Rabbi Levi as teaching that the snake spoke slander against HaShem, by claiming that HaShem does not want people eating from the eitz ha’da’as, as they will be able to create worlds, as can G-d.

[3] This pasuk from Koheles connects the punishment of the snake to the punishment of the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa. It is especially appropriate to compare the snake and the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa, for the snake was the first one to sin through Lashon HaRa. (See Bereishis Rabbah: 20; 1)

On the pasuk from Koheles (10; 11), RaSh”I notes that there is no gain for the snake-charmer if he were to stop charming the snake, and, on the contrary, there is a loss, as the snake can feel free to go about and bite people. Similarly, there is nothing to be gained if a Torah scholar is silent, unwilling to teach the populace the laws of The Torah, [rationalizing that] the population will almost inevitably come to transgress many of the laws of The Torah. Metzudas David adds that the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa is worse than the snake, for the snake does not bite while it is being charmed and while it is being warned against biting. However, the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa, though warned of the severity of speaking Lashon HaRa, would nevertheless sin. The snake and the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa are comparable as they both do not gain from the damage that they inflict on the victim and they nevertheless attack with the weapon of their mouths.

[4] The Hebrew term is “ovdei kochavim u’mazalos” - its literal translation is “those who worship stars and constellations”, though it also refers to idolaters.

[5] “Gehinnom” refers to “hell”.

[6] This teaching is found in chapter 53 of
Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer.

[7] Alternatively, this teaching may state that the speakers of Lashon HaRa will not be healed.

[8] Adam’s wife, Chavah, is described as an “eizer” or “helper” for Adam. The term “eizer” is found immediately before HaShem formed Chavah, where it states that “…and for Adam, he did not find a helper opposite him.”
(Bereishis: 2; 20)

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