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, October 05, 2006

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.

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