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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

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].

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