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

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon י"ח חשון - Cheshvan 18 - Forty-Eighth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Please keep in mind Avraham ben Yitzchak Adatto, z"l, while learning.

In order to explain some of the virtues of peace, I will copy a little from the [teachings] of our Sages of Blessed Memory on this [matter]. [The following] is taken from the book “Ma’alas HaMiddos[1]: “Know, my sons, that the virtue of peace is the loftiest of virtues, for it is one of the names of The Holy One, Blessed is He, as it says, (Shoftim: 6; 24) “and he called it ‘HaShem Shalom[2]”. In every place that peace is found, fear of Heaven is [similarly] found, and in every place where peace is not found, fear of Heaven is [similarly] not found. [So] great is the [virtue of] peace before [HaShem’s] Presence, for such did our Sages of Blessed Memory say in the Aggadah (Yevamos, 65b): “[So] great is the [virtue of] peace that even the Written Torah contains words of falsehood [in order] to impose peace between Avraham and Sarah. For [Sarah] said, “…and my master is elderly.” (Bereishis: 18; 12), and HaShem said to Avraham [while reporting what Sarah said about Avraham], “…and I am elderly”, [making it seem as if Sarah referred to herself as “elderly”] (Bereishis: 18; 13). Similarly, [Yosef’s brothers fabricated the following command that Ya’akov gave to Yosef]: “And they commanded Yosef, saying, ‘Your father commanded before his death, saying’.”[3] (Bereishis: 50; 16) [However], we do not find that [Ya’akov] commanded [Yosef] any of these things at all, for [Ya’akov] did not suspect [Yosef of wanting to wrong his brothers]. [So] great is the power of peace that even at a time of war we seek out peace, as it says, “When you approach a city to wage war against it, and you shall call out to it, [offering it] peace.” (Devarim: 20; 10) [So] great is the [attribute of] peace, for we conclude Birchas Kohanim[4] with it, as it says, “…and He shall place down peace for you.” (Bamidbar: 6; 26) [So] great is the [virtue of] peace that we conclude the [morning] prayer [service] with [a mention of] peace, as it says, “HaShem will give strength to His nation, HaShem will bless His nation with peace.” (Tehillim: 29; 11) Furthermore, on the day of the consolation of the Jewish People, we first bring news of peace, as it says, “How pleasant on the hills are the feet of the heralder who brings news of peace.” (Yishayahu: 52; 7) My sons, come and see how great is the power of peace, for even to those whom He hates, The Holy One, Blessed is He, opens to them [by offering] peace, as it says, “When you shall approach a city [to wage war against it, and you shall call out to it, [offering it] peace]”. (Devarim: 20; 10) It was said about Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, that no one ever preceded him [with greetings of] peace, [before he wished them peace. Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai would] even [make sure to initiate greetings of peace to] gentile[s] in the marketplace.[5] (Berachos, 17a) Our Sages of Blessed Memory have [also] said [in Pirkei Avos] (Chapter 4, Mishna 15): “You shall precede all people by first greeting [them] with wishes of peace.” What [does it mean by saying that one should greet] all people with wishes of peace? Even if you see someone who has something against you, you shall take the initiative by greeting him with wishes for peace, for if you do this, you will cause him to love you. Not only that, but even if he will not yield to make peace with you, The Holy One, Blessed is He, will hand him over to you and cause him to capitulate under you, as it says, “And if they will not make peace with you… and HaShem, your G-d, will place them in your hand…” (Devarim: 20; 12) Similarly, we find by David, Alav HaShalom, that he was pursuing peace with Shaul, as it says, “I am peace, and when I speak, they are for war.” (Tehillim: 120; 7) [For] Shaul, it was not enough that he was not appeased [by David], rather, he pursued [David] in order to harm him, and The Holy One, Blessed is He, handed over [Shaul] into the hand of David in the cave and in the circular encampment[6]. Nevertheless, [these instances in which Shaul fell into David’s hand] did not arise [to provide] David [the opportunity] to cause harm to [befall Shaul. The above is the case], for a person must love peace and pursue peace, as it says, “Seek peace and pursue it”. (Tehillim: 34; 15) Seek [peace] out in your place and pursue it with your enemy, seek it in your place and pursue it in other places, seek it with your body and pursue it with your money[7], seek it for yourself and pursue it for others, seek it today and pursue it tomorrow. Do not give up [in your attempts to pursue peace], by saying, “I am unable to make peace.” Rather, pursue after peace until you attain it. What is [considered] pursuing peace? Such did our Sages of Blessed Memory say [when describing what one must do to be considered as having pursued peace]: This [refers to] one who speaks [words of peace] at the time of an argument, and one who abrogates his honor for the sake of the public, similar to the manner in which Moshe Rabbeinu, Alav HaShalom, made [peace], as it says, “And Moshe arose and went to Dathan and Aviram…”[8] (Bamidbar: 16; 25) (Sanhedrin, 110a) [In addition], one who cancels his business dealings [in order to go] and impose peace between a husband and his wife, between a man and his fellow, [or] between a rabbi and his student [is considered as having pursued peace. Pursuing peace also applies to one who] prepares a feast for both of [the disputants] in order to instill peace between them.

[1] This teaching is found in Ma’alas HaShalom, pg. 319, in the Eshkol printing.

[2] After seeing an angel, Gidon was afraid for his life, whereupon, HaShem told him that he would not die. Therefore, Gidon erected an altar. RaSh”I explains that Gidon called the altar “HaShem is our Shalom” – “HaShem is our Peace”. The Minchas Shai quotes the gemara from the first perek of maseches Shabbos where Rav Hamnuna quotes Ulla as saying that it is forbidden for one to say “shalom” to another in the bathhouse, for that is one of HaShem’s Names.

[3] Yosef’s brothers fabricated Ya’akov’s command to Yosef as they feared that Yosef would recompense them for the wrongdoing they had inflicted on Yosef when they sold him as a slave. The Torah states as follows, “And Yosef’s brothers saw that their father had died and they said, ‘Perhaps Yosef will have enmity toward us and shall surely recompense us for all of the evil with which we inflicted [upon] him’. And they commanded Yosef, saying, ‘Your father commanded before his death, saying. ‘So shall you say to Yosef, please forgive the willful and negligent sins of your brothers, for they have inflicted evil upon you, and now forgive the willful sin of the servants of the G-d of your father…’” (Bereishis: 50; 15 – 17)

[4] Birchas Kohanim refers to the "Blessings of the Priests" given daily in Israel (when there is
a kohen present) and, outside of Israel, during Jewish holidays (Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, Pesach, Shavuos, Succos, Shemini Atzeres, and Simchas Torah). The text of Birchas Kohanim is found in the Torah (Bamidbar: 6; 24 - 26).

[5] The entire passage in the gemara reads as follows: “A pearl in the mouth of Abayee: ‘A person should always be cunning to acquire fear of HaShem, [for] “A soft answer turns back anger”. (Mishlei: 15; 1) A person should also increase [the level of] peace with one’s brothers, his relatives, and with all people, even with a gentile in the marketplace in order that he be loved Above, [in Heaven] and desired below, [in this world] and he will be popular among people. Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai would] even [make sure to initiate greetings of peace to] gentile[s] in the marketplace.” (Berachos, 17a)

[6] The first incident in which David had the opportunity to kill Shaul was when Shaul and his men were pursuing David to attack him. David and his men were hiding in a cave. Shaul, whereupon having to relieve himself in a cave, entered the same cave in which David and his men were hidden. David’s men recommended that David do what he wishes to Shaul. However, instead of killing Shaul, David cut off a piece of his garment. (Shmuel I: 24; 3 – 7) The next incident [when David could have attacked Shaul] was when David and Avishai entered Shaul’s camp while Shaul and his men were under a Heavenly imposed deep-sleep. Though David had an opportunity to kill Shaul a second time, he refused “to touch the anointed one of HaShem” and instead took Shaul’s spear. (Shmuel I: 26; 7 – 12) Thus, in both instances, though Shaul pursued David, intent on harming him,
when the opportunities arose, David refused to kill or cause harm Shaul, as he felt that it was improper to attack Shaul.

[7] Chofetz Chaim’s note: The explanation of [pursuing peace with your money] is [as follows]: At times, a person needs to be forgiving in reference to his money, in order to strengthen the stronghold of peace.

[8] Reish Lakish says that we learn that one should not hold onto a dispute from the fact that Moshe arose to go to Dathan and Aviram. Dathan and Aviram were two major players in the rebellion of Korach against Moshe’s leadership of the Jewish People. (Sanhedrin, 110a) RaSh”I states on the pasuk that Moshe went to Dathan and Aviram, for perhaps they would show him favor. (Bamidbar: 16; 25)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon י"ז חשון - Cheshvan 17 - Forty-Seventh Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

There is another great and holy advantage that branches off from guarding one’s tongue, that being the attribute of peace. As is known, by guarding one’s tongue, one removes [other] people’s jealousy [which have been] directed against him. [Whereupon knowing that the given individual is careful to guard himself from forbidden speech], everyone [will then come to] love him and tell over their secrets to him and will never speak [that which is forbidden] against him. [This result of never falling victim to the forbidden speech of others], is measure-for-measure, as I have seen written in the name of the Ari z”l.

[Chofetz Chaim’s note: The opposite [of the aforementioned] is also true: One who speaks evil about his fellow and derides him, will [suffer] from a [“boomerang effect”], falling [victim] to other people’s derisive speech. [Becoming the victim of other people’s forbidden speech], aside from his punishment in The World to Come, [is the effect of his forbidden speech against his fellow]. Similarly, I have seen[that which was] written in the name of the early Sages[1], who have hinted [to the aforementioned teaching, by stating the following]: “Just as one inflicts a blemish in a person, so too, that [blemish] shall be inflicted upon him.” (Vayikra: 24; 20) Moreover, even the person before whom he relates the Lashon HaRa and [the] Rechilus, views [the one who speaks Lashon HaRa and Rechilus] as abhorrent and dirty, as our Sages of Blessed Memory have said [in maseches Sanhedrin (29a)]: “Witnesses who testify falsely are [viewed as] disgraceful [even by] those who hire them.”[2] Furthermore, all of those who hear [the witnesses] will suspect [the false witness], saying: ‘Now he has spoken against my fellow before me and he will subsequently go and speak concerning me before my fellow.’]

[We] find that [guarding one’s tongue] leads to peace. The greatness of peace is already known, as our Sages of Blessed Memory have said[3], that even if, Heaven Forbid, the sin of idolatry is present amongst the Jewish People, but [they maintain] peace in their midst, The Holy One, Blessed is He, tells the Satan not to touch [the Jewish People]. One who accustoms himself to speak good things about his fellow, merits that The Holy One, Blessed is He, calls him by His Name, that being “Shalom” – “peace”, as it is written [in Shoftim (6; 24)], “and he called it ‘HaShem Shalom
[4].” The opposite [is true if one speaks that which is forbidden concerning his fellow], Heaven Forbid, [that person being] called by the name “ra” – “evil”. [This follows that which] our Sages of Blessed Memory have said[5]: “All those who speak with their fellow, and eat and drink with him, and speak Lashon HaRa concerning him, The Holy One, Blessed is He, calls him “ra” – “evil”, as it says, (Mishlei: 12; 20) “Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil.” [However], all of those who do not eat and drink with him, and do not do business with him[6], and speak good things about him, The Holy One, Blessed is He, calls him “Shalom”, as it says “…and for those who advise peace, there is happiness.” (Mishlei: 12; 20)

[1] See in the Kli Yakar in the end of Parshas Emor who explained a teaching similar to the above teaching – (Vayikra: 24;10), on the word “Va’Yetzei”, where the Kli Yakar also refer to verses 19 and 20.

The Kli Yakar points out a concept taught in maseches Kiddushin, where we learn that “all those who disqualify [another], disqualify with their own blemish”. In the case of the quarrel between the two unnamed participants, each one was claiming that the other was defective in a given way, which, in reality, reflected upon their own deficiencies.

The Kli Yakar notes that when the pasuk states, “And when a man inflicts a blemish on his fellow, just as he did, so shall be done to him” (Vayikra: 24; 19) we learn that a person who speaks against holy individuals, claiming that they are deficient in a given respect, “so shall be done to him”, as others will say that the individual making these claims must be deficient in that matter. This follows that which is taught in the gemara, as follows: “All those who disqualify [another], disqualify [the other person] with their own blemish”. This teaching of the Kli Yakar resembles the above teaching quoted by the Chofetz Chaim. The person who speaks derisively leads himself to a situation where he will be derided by others. Other people will likely deride him as they will figure that the speaker is relating his inadequacies while he is trying to cut down the victim of his forbidden speech.

The Kli Yakar further notes that when the Torah discusses the incident involving an argument between two Israelites and the ensuing incident involving one of them who cursed one of HaShem’s Names, the pasuk does not state the name of either of the participants, only noting that they are both Israelites. The pasuk states, “And the son of an Israelite woman went out into the midst of the Children of Israel and he is the son of an Egyptian man, and the son of the Israelite woman quarreled with the Israelite man. And the son of the Israelite woman pronounced [G-d’s] Name and he cursed…” (Vayikra: 24; 10 – 11) The Kli Yakar notes that the names of these quarrelers are not stated as they were both blemished, base
individuals, who were the lowliest of the nation. They were so lowly and base as they were both prone to strife. Due to their quarrel, the son of the Egyptian man cursed one of HaShem’s Holy Names.

The one who cursed HaShem’s Name was accustomed to cursing HaShem's Name in private. Therefore, he came to curse HaShem's Name publicly, in the midst of Bnei Yisrael. This follows that which is taught in Pirkei Avos (Chapter 4, Mishna 5), where we learn that one who desecrates the Name of HaShem in private is punished for this sin in public.

[2] The gemara states that witnesses who testify falsely are viewed as disgraceful by those who hire them. The gemara relates that Queen Izevel hired witnesses to testify falsely against Navos the Yizraelite in order to give him the death penalty and thus inherit his vineyard for her husband, Achav. The pasuk concerning this incident states, “And you shall let wicked men sit opposite him and they will testify, saying, ‘You have cursed G-d and the king.’” (Melachim I: 21; 10) From here we see that Queen Izevel viewed the false witnesses as wicked men.

[3] This teaching is found in Sifrei, Parshas Naso, Piskah 42.

HaShem Shalom refers to the name that Gideon gave the altar, the name given based on the Names of HaShem.

[5] This teaching is brought in Sefer Ma’alos HaMiddos, Ma’alos Shalom, pg. 369 in the Eshkol printing.

[6] Chofetz Chaim’s note: [“Not doing business with him”] means that he has not benefitted from [the other person].

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon ט"ז חשון - Cheshvan 16 - Forty-Sixth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Please learn today's segment of "Shmiras HaLashon" for the merit of an improvement in the situation of Perel Leah bas Sima.

Chapter 11

[In this Chapter, we] Shall Explain [Concerning] the Great Reward in this World and in The World to Come for Guarding One’s Tongue. [We] Shall also Explain [of] the Great Benefit of Peace

[In addition to the previously mentioned advantages derived through the avoidance of forbidden speech], there are also a number of holy benefits [that one experiences by guarding his tongue from forbidden speech. These benefits are listed as follows]:

1) By [guarding one's tongue from forbidden speech, the person] is thereby saved from all of the punishments that come as a result of this sin, as mentioned earlier.

2) By [refraining from speaking that which is forbidden, the person] is thereby confident that he will benefit [himself by coming closer] to [achieving] the “desired objective”[1]. Now, [once the individual does not speak that which is forbidden], he will [thereby lose the merits that he had thus far attained, thereby not being counted toward his
Heavenly reward]. For, if this would not be the case, [namely, that he would involve himself in forbidden speech such as Lashon HaRa], it is likely that not retain any [reward or merit for his actions], Heaven Forbid. This [teaching] follows that which [was] written previously, in chapter 3 and in chapter 6, quoting the Midrash.

3) Furthermore, [one who avoids involvement in Lashon HaRa] is called a man, as it is written [in Tehillim], “Who is the man who desires life…?”
(34; 13) For, if he would not [guard his mouth from forbidden speech], he would be in the category of creatures who do not speak. [The following teaching] is brought in the Midrash Shocher Tov[2]: “And the evildoers shall be driven like the sea…[3]” (Yeshayahu: 57; 20) – [This pasuk teaches that] just as the sea emits mud on its “lips”, so too do the evildoers emit [forbidden speech] on [their] lips, [it being something detestable, resembling] dirt.

4) Just as [one
who does not speaking that which is forbidden against his fellow] subdues himself from presenting prosecution [against that person], and, [on the contrary], with all of his power seeks [to find] an [indication of] innocence [from the perceived wrongdoing], similarly, Above, [in Heaven], the ministering angels will deduce his innocence. [This teaching follows that which is] brought in Midrash Mishlei[4].

Furthermore, by guarding one’s tongue, [the individual] merits to be enclothed in the Spirit of Holiness, as is written in the Holy Zohar, Parshas Chukas (volume 3: 183b): “All those who guard their mouth and tongue, merit to be enclothed in the Spirit of Holiness.”[5]

Also, through guarding [one's] tongue, [the person] brings himself an abundance [of reward] in this world. [This follows] that which is brought in Mechilta, Parshas Mishpatim (Parsha 20), on the verse “And you shall not eat trief meat [that is] in the field, you shall throw it to the dog.”
(Shmos: 22; 30) This comes to teach you that The Holy One, Blessed is He, does not deprive the reward of any creature, as it says “And for all of the Children of Israel, no dog barked... (Shmos: 11; 7) Are these things not a kal va’chomer[6]? If such is the reward for an animal, [for guarding their tongues], how much more so will [HaShem] not deny [the person's] reward [for guarding his tongue]…

[Furthermore], for every moment that one guards himself [from speaking that which is forbidden], he merits [to attain] an elevated level in Gan Eden. [This follows] that which the Gaon, Rabbeinu Eliyahu, of Blessed Memory, said [in his holy letter “Alim Li’Tirufah”] in the name of the Midrash, [where he wrote] that for every single moment that a person stops his mouth [from speaking that which is forbidden], he merits the hidden light which no angel or creature can imagine.

[The one who guards his mouth] is thereby also saved from [punishment in] gehinnom, as is [taught] in Midrash Tanchuma (Parshas Mitzora, siman 2), [as follows]: “If your desire is to be saved from gehinnom, distance yourselves from Lashon HaRa, and you shall merit [reward] in this world and in The World to Come, as it says ["Who is the man who desires life…"] (Tehillim: 34; 13)

[1] The “desired objective” refers to the goal and purpose of the person in this world, that being to fear HaShem and follow the mitzvos, thereby bringing the person reward in The World to Come. For certain mitzvos, a person is also rewarded in this world, though not at the expense of their reward in The World to Come. (See the first chapter of maseches
Peah”, the ten mitzvos being listed after the blessings recited prior to the study of Torah).

[2] Note from the
Kol HaLashon printing: This teaching from Midrash Shocher Tov, on the beginning of chapter 2 of Tehillim, though with different wording.

[3] The entire verse reads, “And the evildoers shall be driven as the sea, for they cannot be quiet and their waters drive out mire and mud.” (Yeshayahu: 57; 20) From here we learn that the evildoers disgorge “mire and mud” as does the sea. MaHaR”I K'ra points out that just as the sea does not experience peace, the evildoer never experience peace, as we will learn, G-d Willing, later in this chapter.

[4] This teaching is found in
Shocher Tov, parsha 11, on the pasuk, “Shocher Tov…”

[5] The Zohar explains that Queen Esther merited to be enclothed in the “Spirit of Holiness”, as it says, “And it was on the third day and Esther dressed in royalty…” (Esther: 5; 1) The Zohar explains that Esther merited to be enclothed in the Spirit of Holiness since she guarded her speech and did not reveal her lineage to anyone, as it says, “Esther did not relate her nation and her birthplace, for Mordechai had commanded her not to tell.” (Esther: 2; 10) Based on this pasuk, the Zohar teaches us that if one guards himself from speaking that which is forbidden, he merits to be enclothed in the “Spirit of Holiness”, also known as Ruach HaKodesh.

[6]The phrase “Kal Va’chomer”, literally meaning “light and stringent” is used to introduce, or can refer to, an a fortiori argument, whereby one draws a conclusion that is inferred to be even more certain than another accepted conclusion.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon ט"ו חשון - Cheshvan 15 - Forty-Fifth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Our Sages of Blessed Memory have said [in maseches Shabbos, 119b], “The breath [that emanated from the] mouth of one who [learns Torah and who] possesses sin, is incomparable to the breath [that emanates from the] mouth of one who is sinless. The explanation [of the above teaching is as follows]: [This teaching applies] to even one who sins at times, [it being a rare] occurrence, as we explained in chapter seven. How much more so [does one weaken the power of his Torah learning] if [he is] accustomed to use the breath of his mouth to sin every day and every hour [by speaking that which is forbidden. The person corrupts his power of speech] even more so [if he involves himself in the prohibitions of] Lashon HaRa and Rechilus. [By speaking Lashon HaRa and Rechilus[1]], [that person thereby] certainly detracts from the prayer which he will subsequently [utter]. His prayers will also not be accepted Above, [in Heaven], as long as he does not accept [upon himself to] repent [concerning] his [sin of forbidden speech]. [This follows that which] we have written earlier, in chapter seven, in the name of the Holy Zohar[2]. We are [also] able to say that [the aforementioned] is the intended meaning of the [following] pasuk from Koheles (7; 13): “See the actions of G-d, for who is capable of fixing that which he distorted?” [The] explanation [of this verse is as follows]: Place your eyes and heart on the G-dly things, they being the holy sanctuaries and the supernal lights which you made, [and exist in Heaven]. That is, [these spiritual creations were brought into existence] through your Torah [study] and [performance of] mitzvos. [This Torah study and performance of mitzvos] shall be performed in a manner [that achieves their intended level of] completeness, with all of the necessary preparations [necessary in order to arrive at] this [goal and thereby enable himself to achieve completeness in each mitzvah performed as well as in his Torah study]. In addition, [in order for one to achieve the maximum supernal effects, it is necessary for one to possess] a clean tool of the trade. [This follows that which we] mentioned earlier [when quoting the following verse from Koheles]: “…For who can fix that which he distorted?” – [The] explanation [of this is as follows]: If, Heaven Forbid, [one] damages those [tools involved in spiritual pursuits], they will always remain blemished and broken, resulting in eternal worry and constant pain when [that person] remembers that his laziness [led] him [to suffer] all of this [harm. The tools of the individual which are used for spiritual pursuits] are not like the buildings of this world, for, if one [building] is damaged, a second expert can come and fix it. [The above] is not the case regarding matters of the desired objective, as the Tanna[3] said in [Pirkei] Avos (1; 14): “If I am not for myself, who is for me?” [The above teaching is the meaning behind] that which is written, “For who is capable [of fixing that which he distorted?[4]]”

[Chofetz Chaim’s note: Alternatively, “actions of G-d” can follow its simple meaning: The creation of the sanctuaries of holiness and of the angels, [is that] which The Holy One, Blessed is He, Creates as a result of the Torah [learned] and the mitzvos performed by the Jewish People in this world.]

That which is derived from all of our words, [is as follows]: Through guarding one’s tongue in accordance with halacha[5], the person merits to sanctify his power of speech, whereupon his Torah [learning] and prayers will be accepted Above, [in Heaven].

[1] Rechilus is talebearing.

[2] Zohar, Parshas Mitzora: “The prayer of one who has committed the [sin of Lashon HaRa] does not rise before The Holy One, Blessed is He, for the Spirit of Impurity has aroused itself upon him. Once he returns in repentance [from his sin of Lashon HaRa] and he has accepted upon himself to repent, what is written in reference to him? “On the day that he becomes pure he shall be brought before the Kohen”… (Vayikra: 14; 2)

[3] Tanna refers to rabbis from the Mishnaic era.

[4] RaSh”I notes that one is unable to fix that which he distorted in his lifetime once he passes away.

Therefore, one can do Teshuvah in his lifetime to undo that which he distorted. However, it is only he who can right the wrongs, as we learn in Pirkei Avos - “If I am not for myself, who is for me?”

[5] Halacha refers to Jewish law.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon י"ד חשון - Cheshvan 14 - Forty-Fourth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

[[Chofetz Chaim’s] note: [The following teaching is taken] from the holy Alschich[1] on the pasuk “And it shall be upon Aharon to serve, and its sound shall be heard when he enters the Holies…[2] (Shmos: 28; 35) [This pasuk is coming to warn us concerning] one who soils his mouth with the filth of the impurity of obscene speech, his mouth and tongue shall consequently surely become detestable and abominable for he has made them a base for that which is forbidden. How will he be able to stand before the King of kings with a mouth which speaks that which is obscene and [how will HaShem] not be angry concerning his voice, saying: ‘Who is this contemptible person, who determined to stand before [HaShem] to beseech the Will [of HaShem] with regards to his sins, [though he has] uttered that which is contemptible, [thus making his mouth] an ugly vessel, untouchable due to disgust?’ Had you truly been a servant of the kings of the land, would you stand before him to serve him on his table, with vessels [dirtied with] excrement? Would you not be ashamed [to show such disrespect to an earthly king]? [The earthly king] would also, with great commotion, command an evil messenger to kill you with the sword! Now, please [derive] a kal va’chomer[3] [from the above parable]: If the king of Cush were to hire tillers of the ground, [though] it is [an occupation] that is similar [in nature] to nonsense, if you were to use an impure vessel, he would punish you with beheading. Similarly, here also, [you, who, before HaShem, are comparable] to an abandoned gnat, [are nevertheless] determined to glorify yourself before The One who said “and the universe shall [come into existence]?” Who, due to his greatness, [even from among] the holy ones [who speak before HaShem] with a clear and pleasant voice, either [if he is] from those Above, [in Heaven], or below, [on earth], is fitting to stand before [HaShem] and to speak to Him? How very much more so, it is inappropriate for a hooligan to approach [HaShem], to speak to Him with impure lips. For you, who have sent your mouth [to speak] the evil, obscene speech, and [have thereby] become disgusting, from where and how [have you determined] in your heart to speak to Him and to say before Him, “We shall praise G-d”, [while speaking these words] with a mouth that utters obscene speech? Woe [to this individual] for that [great] embarrassment [he suffers] when he comes to The House of HaShem, while not preventing himself from bringing a bedpan [full] of urine into the Temple, although The Honor [of G-d’s] Presence resides there! Where will you bring the shame you [have gained from] having transformed [your mouth], a vessel used in the service of The Creator, into one of the sewers?

Is one not exceedingly embarrassed to praise HaShem with the same mouth with which he uttered mundane speech? [The above] follows that which is taught in the Yerushalmi[4], where we learn of] the [following] saying: “Who would provide me with two mouths, one to speak of my household necessities, and one to speak with my Creator? So too, now, [with regards to obscene speech, how will one] with an impure mouth, organize [his prayer] before [HaShem] Yisbarach [in order] to seek a desirous [response from HaShem], for how will his words [of prayer] be desired [by HaShem]? Can it be that the advocate is [also] the prosecutor? For when one speaks with this [impure mouth, in order to beseech HaShem’s merciful response, that same mouth] will [also serve as a] reminder of [the] sins [that he committed with that mouth]. See over there, [in the Alschich], where he brings a teaching of our Sages of Blessed Memory in reference to the aforementioned.

[The Alschich] concludes this [teaching] with the following: “The [following] is what our Torah is coming to teach when it says “and it shall be on Aharon…”: Just as the m’eel of the Kohen Gadol, of which we spoke earlier, shall be upon Aharon to serve HaShem [while he wears] it, and he shall not [be lacking] that vestment, [so too must one ensure that his speech, which is compared to the m’eel, is pure, so that his mouth remains an appropriate vessel to use in his prayers before HaShem. Only] when the Kohen Gadol is wearing all of the necessary vestments, his] “voice shall be heard” in his prayer, when he comes into the Holies to speak with [HaShem] Yisbarach. [However], this is not the case [if he lacks the required vestments], Heaven Forbid.” [Similarly, when one desires his prayers to be accepted, he should keep his speech pure and, thereby, HaShem will listen to his prayers.]]

[1] This teaching is found in his book “Toras Moshe”, Parshas
Titzaveh, (28; 31), at the conclusion of that section, beginning with the words “v’al ha’shevi’is”).

[2] The whole verse states, “And it shall be upon Aharon to serve [before HaShem], and its sound shall be heard when he enters the Holies before HaShem and when he leaves, and he shall not die.” From here we see that if the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) is not wearing one of his garments when he enters the Holies, he is liable for the death penalty at the hand of Heaven. This verse is preceded by verses that describe different vestments that the Kohen Gadol shall wear. The verse immediately preceding the aforementioned verse, states that Aharon shall wear the m’eel – the cloak of the Kohen Gadol that is adorned at the bottom with small imitation pomegranates and bells.

[3] The phrase “Kal Va’chomer”, literally meaning “light and stringent” is used to introduce, or can refer to, an a fortiori argument, whereby one draws a conclusion that is inferred to be even more certain than another accepted conclusion. There are ten places in TaNaCh (Written Torah, including the Torah, Prophets, and Scriptures) where there are Kal Va’chomer’s, one of which (Bamidbar: 12; 14) where HaShem tells Moshe that Miriam must be quarantined for seven days for her sin of slandering Moshe. HaShem tells Moshe, “…And if her father would spit in her face, would she not be ashamed for seven days…”, how much more should Miriam be ashamed for seven days for her sin of Lashon HaRa.

[4] This teaching is found in the Talmud Yerushalmi, maseches
Berachos (chapter 1, halacha 2).

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon י"ג חשון - Cheshvan 13 - Forty-Third Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Chapter 10

[In this Chapter, we] Shall Explain [Concerning] the Greatness of the Attribute of Guarding the Tongue, for [by Guarding ones Tongue], one Sanctifies his Power of Speech

We shall now explain [concerning] the power of the merit [of] one who guards his mouth and tongue from speaking forbidden utterances. The primary advantage [that one benfits from by guarding oneself from speaking Lashon HaRa], is that [one therby] rectifies and sanctifies his [power of] speech, it being a special tool for the trade of the Jewish man. [As a result of speaking only permitted speech, then] the utterances of Torah and prayer that he will subsequently speak, will ascend to the source of their root, Above, [in Heaven]. For it was not for naught that in a number of places our Sages of Blessed Memory [have] compared [the power of speech] to the matter of a trade (as RaSh”I explained[1] in Bamidbar (31; 8)). [By comparing speech to a trade, the Sages are coming] to teach us, that, just as a tool of the trade is a necessary object with regards to making new and nice vessels, [so too is the power of speech necessary for the Jewish man]. For, even if [the individual] would be the craftsman of the king, he being the greatest of all craftsmen, [with an] exceedingly sharp mind, [who conceives] in his [mind concerning] the manner in which to [best] produce the vessels [in order to arrive at] the most pleasant [of outcomes], nevertheless, without the tools of his craft, [the craftsman] is unable to produce [the vessels]. Moreover, even if he were to have tools of his trade, [only that] the tools are blemished and damaged, [the final product would be of an inferior quality]. If the craftsman were pushed to make a vessel [with these damaged tools], the blemish and the breaks of the vessel would be recognizable afterwards, [both] on the inside and on the outside. [The imperfections in the vessel would be evident], for [the craftsman] will not be able to smoothen it properly and [these vessels] would be similar [in quality] to unfinished wooden vessels, not pleasing even for the use of a commoner, how much more so [are they unfitting] to present before the king. [However], the craftsman who [is in possession of] tools of the trade that are complete and good, fittingly shined and polished, the vessel produced by this craftsman will [be found to be] proper and beautiful, as is fitting. [The parable of the craftsman] is precisely [true] regarding this matter of the power of speech, [as the power of speech] was given to the Jewish man to use it in service before the Awesome King, Yisbarach Shemo, [in order to speak words of] Torah and prayer, to bless, give thanks, praise, and laud before [His Presence. The power of speech is so powerful that it is used in the service of HaShem, for it is the tool of the great trade, with which the complete person can build Heaven and Earth, as it is written, “And I shall place My words in your mouth… to plant the Heavens and make a foundation for the Earth…[2]
(Yishayahu: 51; 16) [The meaning of this verse] precisely [follows] its simple understanding, for with the holy words that a person utters before HaShem Yisbarach, here, in this world, Above, [in the Heavens], worlds and holy angels are created who will subsequently serve as advocates and intercessors on behalf of his soul. The level of the holiness of the worlds and the angels that he creates through his Torah [study] and [performance] of mitzvos are dependent on a number of matters:

1) [The level of the holiness of the angels and worlds [that the person] creates through his study of Torah is] in accordance with the preparation that he had at [the] time [of his study of The Torah]: If he had prepared himself at that time with all of his strengths, to fulfill [the action] in accordance with the Torah, in all of its necessary portions and specifics, [then the angels and worlds that are created as a result of his words of Torah are imbued with a greater degree of holiness].

2) [The holiness of the worlds and the angels that he creates is] in accordance with the tools of the trade [with which] he performed the Torah, [it] being the tool of speech. (Similarly, [the above is true] with [regards to the performance of] a mitzvah, [concerning the quality of] the tool that was used to fulfill that mitzvah). For, if [the tools] are nice and beautiful [and] are always used for [that which is] good, [they] thereby strengthen their power of holiness, [as the necessary] power [exists] within [those vessels] to draw the supreme holiness and the great light on that matter [of a mitzvah which he performs]. However, if he blemishes his power of speech and makes it impure through Lashon HaRa, talebearing, mockery, lies, and similar [types of speech which are forbidden], and does not repent, Heaven Forbid, [then he remains with a blemished power of speech. When] he will subsequently speak words of Torah and prayer, what power [will remain] within [his words] to draw the supreme holiness on that Torah and [those] prayers [that he has uttered], for his tool for pronunciation has already [acted in a manner which] made itself blemished and impure?

[1] This verse discusses how the Jews killed the five kings of Midian and Bilam. The verse states that the Israelites killed “Bilam the son of Beor… with a sword”. (Bamidbar: 31; 8) RaSh”I, on this verse,
explains that the power of the Jewish People is within their mouths, in contrast to the power of other nations which is in their swords. RaSh”I states, “[Bilam] came against Israel, and he switched his trade with [Israel’s] trade, for [the Jewish People] are only victorious with [the power] of their mouths and through prayer and beseeching [HaShem]. [Bilam] came and grabbed the trade [of the Jewish People] in order to curse them with [his] mouth. [So too], even [the Israelites] came against him and switched their trade with the trade of the nations that come with the sword. [This follows that which it says in reference to Eisav], “…and upon your sword you shall live…” (Bereishis: 27; 40) (see Tanchuma, Balak, 8) From here we see that the “trade” of the Jewish People is the power of the mouth when it is used in a holy manner.

Based on the above, we can say that Jewish People are successful in war due to proper usage of their power of speech.

[2] Metzudas David states that HaShem places His words of Torah into the mouths of the Jewish People in order to speak those words of Torah. Part of the verse states, “And I shall place My words in your mouth and in the shade of My hand I have covered you…” Metzudas David explains that the verse states that HaShem covers the Jewish People in the shade of His hand in order to protect the Jewish People from their enemies in the merit of the Torah.

Shmiras HaLashon י"בּ חשון - Cheshvan 12 - Forty-Second Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

[In addition to all of the previously discussed ramifications of slander, the speaker of Lashon HaRa] also becomes a vehicle for the impure klipah[1] that is called “Lashon HaRa”, as is written in Sefer Chareidim[2].

Furthermore, you should be aware of that which the kabbalists wrote, [that teaching being found] in Sefer Chareidim[3]. [The kabbalists teach that], after passing away, the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa [may] reincarnate into a domeim[4] in the rocks of the field, see [Sefer Chareidim for] a hint to this [in a] pasuk. [On the topic of reincarnation for the habitual speakers of Lashon HaRa, the Sefer Chareidim states as follows]: “At times, the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa reincarnates in[to] a dog. (See the Chofetz Chaim’s note[5]) Similarly, one who is accustomed to eating trief[6] meat, or one who feeds [trief meat] to a Jew, [may reincarnate into a dog. The fact that, at times, the habitual speakers of Lashon HaRa, as well as those accustomed to serve or eat trief meat reincarnate into a dog], is hinted to in the Torah, as it is written “And you shall be holy for Me, and trief meat in the field, you shall not eat it, you shall throw it to the dog.”
(Shmos: 22; 30) [Immediately] afterwards it is written “You shall not bear a false rumor”. (Shmos: 23; 1) [We see that the phrase] “…to the dog you shall throw him” is written between these two sins; between [the sin of] eating trief and between [the sin of] the speaker of Lashon HaRa. [The placement of this phrase] comes to inform you that due to these two sins [of eating trief and speaking Lashon HaRa], a person is reincarnated into a dog.

This is what King David, Alav HaShalom[7], hinted [to in Tehillim] (22; 21): “Save myself from [the] sword, [save] my soul from the hand of the dog”, and it [is written] nearby, “I shall tell of Your Name to my brothers”… Meaning, I will not use my tongue to speak Lashon HaRa [so as to avoid] being punished in this evil reincarnation [as a dog]. Rather, I shall use [my tongue] to praise You, and to warn Jews that they should fear from before You[r Presence] and that they should praise You. [You should also] know that the Kabbalists said that though the person [who] is reincarnated in the form of a person is unaware of his first [existence], nevertheless, when he reincarnates in the from of an animal or a bird, he is aware of his first [existence] and is troubled and pained how he descended from the Heavens from the form of a person to [enter into] the form of an animal. Therefore, every person should tremble and should be fearful and timid while he is still living his life, when he still has the ability [to fear HaShem], and he should know his G-d. [Once he is sufficiently aware of G-d and what He commands], then his sins will be atoned and the anger [of HaShem] will subside, and when his soul departs [his body], he will rest and be tranquil and his shade will be increased in Gan Eden[8], for [HaShem] is favorable and merciful and bestows an abundance of good. In the place that Ba’alei Teshuvah[9] stand, [even] completely righteous individuals are unable to stand[10] (Berachos: 34b). [This was a] summary [from] Sefer Chareidim.

[1] “Klipah” means “shell” or “husk” and refers to the spiritual barrier that separates the person from HaShem. Though klipos may benefit the person by increasing their free-choice, it is viewed as negative, as it serves as a separation between the individual and HaShem, potentially leading to negative spiritual consequences for the person.

[2] This teaching is found in Sefer Chareidim, section 3, chapter 4 (or chapter 66, sif 39, in the new printing).

[3] This teaching is found in Sefer Chareidim, chapter 7 (alternatively, chapter 39).

[4] “Domeim” are the inanimate objects such as rocks and are the lowest of the forms of creation. Life includes 1) Speaking beings – Humans, 2) Animals, 3) Plants, and 4) Inanimate life.

[5] Note from the Chofetz Chaim: “[The following teaching is taken from] Sefer HaKaneh (Sefer Peliah, 34a – in Karetz printing): “A person should not emit slander. My son, take heed and understand that which happened to a righteous [man] who switched his righteousness with piety and something else dragged his tongue. One person saw this [incident] and left for an evil way of life. Behold, slander kills three: The one who speaks it, the one who accepts it, and the one who is the subject of the Lashon HaRa. Our Sages of Blessed Memory have [also] said: “Yosef, the righteous, spoke slander against his brothers and was reincarnated into a pious man and a pig came and dragged [away] his tongue. One person saw this [incident] and exclaimed: ‘
Such [is the punishment that befell ]the tongue [which was involved in] uttering pearls of Torah from its mouth? This is Torah and this is its reward? He then left to an evil way of life. Behold, the Lashon HaRa has killed three…” see over there.

See [maseches] Kiddushin (39b), that this person who left to live a bad lifestyle was Elisha, [also known as] “Acher”.”

Translator's addition: The gemara (Kiddushin, 39b) states as follows: Rav Yosef said, 'Were Acher to expound this verse like Rabbi Ya'akov bar Bartei, he would have not sinned.' What happened with Acher [that led to his adoption of a sinful lifestyle]? There are those who say that he saw something like this [aforementioned case, where a child, at the bidding of his father, climbed up a building to fulfill the mitzvah of sending away the mother bird, and subsequently fell down and died]. There are those who say that [Acher] saw the tongue of Chutzpis the Meturgaman being dragged by [a pig]. [Whereupon, Acher] exclaimed: "The mouth that released pearls of Torah shall lick the dirt?!? This is Torah and this is its reward?!?” [Thereupon, Acher] went out and sinned."

Rabbi Ya’akov said that the verse that discusses the reward for honoring one’s parents, “…in order that your days shall be lengthened and in order that it should be good for you…” (Devarim: 5; 16) (and in a similar verse concerning the reward for fulfilling the mitzvah of sending away the mother bird when going to take her eggs or chicks), “good” refers to “a world that is all good” and “days shall be lengthened” refers to “a world that is entirely long”. Therefore, Rabbi Ya’akov is coming to teach that the reward for these mitzvos are in “The World to Come” and therefore one might not live a long life in this world for performing these mitzvos. Therefore, had Acher expounded the aforementioned verse as did Rabbi Ya’akov, he would not have adopted a sinful lifestyle.

Rabbi Chutzpis the Meturgaman was one of the ten Torah leaders who were brutally murdered by the Romans during the Hadrianic period. Here we learn that he was also a reincarnation of Yosef, the righteous. "Meturgaman" means "those who expound", and refers to those individuals who expound Torah discourses to the masses. The masses would come to hear a Torah discourse. As the room was so large, it would be very difficult for everyone to hear the Torah discourse. Therefore, the "meturgaman" would say the discourse in a loud voice, thereby enabling the masses to hear the discourse. At times, a number of "meturgaman's" were used so that everyone in different parts of the hall would be able to hear the discourse. The "meturgaman" would often hear the Torah scholar give over the discourse in a very shortened version. Since the "meturgaman" was a Torah scholar in his own right and was familiar with the rabbi's teachings, he would give over the class at the intended length for the attendees.

Rabbi Chutzpis the Meturgaman was murdered on his 130th birthday. It is interesting to note that Yosef lived 110 years. It is possible that one of the reasons that Rabbi Chutzpis lived 130 years was, in a way, to complete the 120 years of Yosef.

[6] Trief meat refers to meat which is not kosher. It could be unfit for consumption by a Jew either due to an improper method of slaughtering the animal or certain defects in the body of an animal.

[7] Alav HaShalom means “Peace is Upon Him”. “Peace”, in this context, refers to one of the names of G-d.

[8] Concerning this teaching, see “Shiur Komah” of the RaMa”K, “Erech Gilgul, 84, fourth column.

[9] "Gan Eden" literally refers to the "Garden of Eden" and is a place where the righteous enjoy their reward after passing away.

[10] A “Ba’al Teshuvah” means “a master of returning” and refers to one who repents, either from a sinful lifestyle to follow the ways of the Torah or can even refer to a person who was accustomed to a specific sin and later repents.

This teaching is said in the name of Rabbi Abahu. Rabbi Abahu quotes the following verse from the Book of Yeshayahu: “…peace, peace, to the one from afar and the one who is close…” (Yeshayahu: 57; 19) and explains that this wish is given to those who are far from the ways of the Torah and then came close. Therefore, a Ba’al Teshuvah stands in a place where even the completely righteous do not stand. Rabbi Yochanan argues with Rabbi Abahu and maintains that the aforementioned verse refers to those who are completely righteous who receive a greater reward than the Ba’alei Teshuvah. Rabbi Yochanan would therefore explain the verse as referring to one who was initially distanced from the sin and then came close to something which is sinful, but nevertheless, distances himself from that sin.

Rabbi Yochanan maintains that the reward of the righteous is so great that only HaShem has seen their reward. However, the Ba’al Teshuvah receives all of the rewards concerning which the prophets prophesized. Therefore, it is possible for even Rabbi Yochanan to say that the Ba’alei Teshuvah stand in a place where the righteous do not stand, as they receive the rewards prophesized. Nevertheless, the reward of the completely righteous is greater. Furthermore, as the completely righteous have not experienced a sinful lifestyle and have not been accustomed to any particular sin, the Ba’al Teshuvah stands in a unique position where the completely righteous cannot stand. The Ba'al Teshuvah is unique, for the completely righteous are not fully aware of the pleasures, although transient, that a sinful lifestyle may offer. However, the Ba’al Teshuvah has lived that lifestyle and is aware of the pleasure derived from performance of the given sin, and, nevertheless overcomes his inclination and follows the ways of the Torah.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon י"א חשון - Cheshvan 11 - Forty-First Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

All of the utterances that one speaks with his mouth are written down Above, [in Heaven]. [This follows] that which is brought in the Midrash [of] Parshas [Ki] Seitze (Devarim Rabbah: 6; 10): ““Do not allow your mouth to bring sin onto your flesh.” (Koheles: 5; 5) Is [it] really true [that the mouth brings sin upon the flesh]? Once the mouth [utters] the Lashon HaRa, it sins against the body, as it causes it to be stricken. [Therefore], “to bring sin to the flesh” [is literally the case], as the mouth sins against the flesh. What is the meaning [of the continuation of this verse from Koheles]: “…do not say before the angel that it was negligence.”? [This teaches that one should not say: “Behold, I will go and speak Lashon HaRa and no being will know [of my sin].” [For, in response to the aforementioned statement], The Holy One, Blessed is He, says to him: “You should be aware that I am sending an angel, and he will be standing at your side and will write [down] everything that you utter against your fellow.”[1]

[The following is taken] from the holy letter of the GR”A[2], “Alim Li’Tirufah”:

“Everyone will be brought in judgment for every utterance, [that judgment will not overlook] even a “light utterance”. Therefore, I warn you to accustom yourself as much as possible to dwell in solitude, for the sin of the tongue is upon everything. [This follows] that which [our Sages] of Blessed Memory have said: “These are the things for which a person eats [their fruits in this world, and the principle remains for him to receive in The World to Come]… and Lashon HaRa is equivalent to all of them.”[3] What [need is there] for me to go on at length concerning this sin [of Lashon HaRa] which is more severe than all of the [other] sins? [Concerning the phrase] “All of the toil of a person is for his mouth.”, (Koheles: 6; 7) – Our Sages of Blessed Memory have said [in Koheles Rabbah], that all of the mitzvos [one performs] and [the] Torah [that one learns], is insufficient [to combat] that which one utters from his mouth. What is the trade of a person in this world? He should [act] like a mute and he should stick his lips together like millstones… The entire arch of the slingshot, [with which he is punished], is due to the breath of his mouth that [he emits when he speaks] idle words. For each word of nonsense, his [soul] needs to be shot from one end of the universe to the other end [of the universe]. [This punishment] is entirely due to
words of excess. However, [when one utters] forbidden words, such as Lashon HaRa, mockery, oaths, vows, [words of] dispute, and curses, specifically in the synagogue, and on Shabbos and Yom Tov, for these, one must descend very far downward [in] gehinnom. [The punishment is so great] that it is impossible to imagine the great afflictions and troubles that one suffers as a result of one utterance. No utterance [that one utters] is lost and left unwritten, for angels constantly go by every single person and [never] separate from him, [all the while] writing down every single utterance. [This follows that which is written in the following pasuk]: “For a bird of the Heavens will carry the voice and a master of wings will relate the matter.” (Koheles: 10; 20) [Another pasuk states]: “Do not allow your mouth to bring sin to your flesh, and do not say before the angel, ‘For it was negligence’, Why should [G-d become angry concerning your voice and destroy the work of your hands?]” (Koheles: 5; 5)…”

[1] The teaching from Devarim Rabbah reads as follows: ““…Do not allow your mouth to bring sin onto your flesh.” (Koheles: 5; 5) The rabbis say that this pasuk refers to habitual speakers of Lashon HaRa. To what does “…Do not allow your mouth [to bring sin against your flesh] refer? Is this really true [that the mouth brings sin upon the flesh]? Once the mouth [utters] the Lashon HaRa, it sins against the body, as it causes it to be stricken. [Therefore], “to bring sin to the flesh” [is literally the case], as the mouth sins against the flesh. What is the meaning [of the continuation of this verse from Koheles]: “…do not say before the angel that it was negligence.”? [This teaches that one should not say: “Behold, I will go and speak Lashon HaRa and no being will know [of my sin].” [For, in response to the aforementioned statement], The Holy One, Blessed is He, says to him: “You should be aware that I am sending an angel, and he will be standing at your side and will write [down] everything that you utter against your fellow.” What [is the source for an angel recording all of one’s words]? As it says, (Koheles: 10; 20) “Also in your thoughts do not curse the King…” Why? “…For a bird of the Heavens will carry the voice…” What is the meaning of “…and a master of wings will tell the thing”? These [“masters of wings”] are the angels, about whom it is written, “…six wings, six wings, for [each] one…”
(Yeshayahu: 6; 10), “…Why shall G-d become angry about your voice? …” (Koheles: 5; 5) – Concerning that voice which you uttered from your mouth. “…And destroy the work of your hands.” – For that person is stricken with afflictions. If you do not believe this, behold, Miriam was afflicted as a result of speaking Lashon HaRa against her brother, Moshe. [We are commanded] “To remember that which [HaShem, your G-d did when you were on the path, when you left Egypt].” (Devarim: 24; 9) Due to this [sin of Lashon HaRa, Miriam] was stricken [with tzara’as].

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

Note from the Kol HaLashon” printing of sefer Shmiras HaLashon”: [The GR”A is referring] to that which we copied in the name of the [Talmud] Yerushalmi, [maseches] Peah (chapter 1, halacha 1). The GR”A also [wrote] this [teaching] down in his book “Shnos Eliyahu”, in the mishnayos of [maseches] Peah (chapter 1, mishna 1), in the commentary of the “Aruch”, beginning with the words “v’heivaisah shalom” – “and bringing peace”.