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

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon כ"ה חשון - Cheshvan 25 - Fifty-Fifth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

[Chofetz Chaim’s note: In case the [evil] inclination tempts you, saying: ‘Doesn’t my fellow, who listens to me [relate] all of my stories, not consider these [stories to be] harmful, the proof being that he doesn’t hate me because of this [information that I relay], and, on the contrary, [he] looks at me with a bright countenance due to [these stories he hears me relate]?’ [In response to the aforementioned claim of the Yetzer HaRa], I shall relate [the following] parable: To what is this [claim of the Yetzer HaRa] similar? To a thief who dresses as a dignitary and [thereupon] meets a visitor and [relates to] him [as if he is] one of his acquaintances [who] is happy whenever he sees him. [The undercover thief then] entices [his supposed acquaintance] to go to the [local] eatery, [in order] to delight [in all of the food and drinks offered on the menu. The undercover thief promises his unsuspecting “friend” that] he will bring pleasure to the guest [by paying for all that which is ordered]. Behold, upon arrival [at the restaurant, the thief] says to the guest: ‘Now that I have the opportunity to see you, I [am experiencing] such great [degree of] happiness, [this especially being the case as I have] not seen you in a number of years. I [have] not [experienced such] a day [when I am as] happy [as I am today]! Therefore, [go and] tell the owner of the institution to serve us all that is found in the eatery, and I shall pay for everything!” [It happens that] after they have eaten [all that was served], the thief slips out of the restaurant, [leaving] the visitor [to] remain alone. The owner of the institution [then came and] obligated the visitor to pay for everything [that was served], saying: “Since you have taken [food and drink] from me, there is no way for me to know who assisted you in consuming [that which was served] and who misled you in this matter [by offering to pay the bill for that which was served]. Behold, the entire time that [the person] dined with the thief, he did not bear any hatred [toward] him. On the contrary, [the visitor] considered [his supposed friend] to be among those whom he loves, as [he believed] that [this charlatan] was benefiting him, [offering to pay for his meal] in return for nothing. However, at the time that [the visitor] has to pay for everything consumed, [having been mislead by the thief, the visitor will then bear] a great deal of anger and hatred against [the charlatan]. My brother, [this parable] is precisely true with regards to this matter [of relating Lashon HaRa]: In this world, the one who listens to and accepts the Lashon HaRa [that] you [relate, believing it to be true], does not sense the destruction which you inflict upon his soul. On the contrary, [he] considers you to be one whom he loves, for you recount all of your dealings [in] his [presence]. However, [the positive reaction of the listener] lasts only as long as the store is open and the storekeeper is making his rounds[1]. However, when [the one who listened to and accepted your Lashon HaRa], enters The World to Come, before the “One who tells the person of their actions [committed in this world]”[2], and he finds that the ledger is open, and all of the things which he listened to and spoke as a result of his maintaining this evil partnership with you, is written over there [in that ledger[3], he will greatly regret having associated with you, for] he will need to give a judgment and accounting for everything [that he had done in his lifetime] and [then suffer by being afflicted] with great punishments for all [of the sins recorded, including those sins recorded that he performed due to his relationship with you]. How much more so [would the listener of your Lashon HaRa detest you], if, Heaven Forbid, as a result of your stories [that you related to him], you caused him to be recorded Above, [in Heaven, as being] among the group of evildoers. [This follows that which is written] in Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer[4]: “My son, do not sit in the company of those who speak of shameful matters against their fellows, for when the words ascend Above, [to Heaven], they are written in a book, and all of those who are standing over there [among that group], are recorded [as being part of] the “group of evildoers”. [As the victim of your forbidden words will receive Heavenly punishment for accepting your forbidden words], the anger and bitterness he will bear against you due to this [punishment that he will suffer] will be [of] great [proportions]!]

[1] This statement is taken from a teaching of Rabbi Akiva, recorded in Pirkei Avos (Chapter 3; Mishna 16) The Mishna begins as follows: “…Everything is given on credit, and a trap is spread out over the living. The store is open, and the storekeeper is making his rounds…” The store being open and the storekeeper making his rounds refers to life in this world, where the individual can enjoy the pleasures of this world and is not immediately held accountable to pay for that which he enjoys, just as is the case with the storekeeper who does not charge the client immediately upon purchase. However, “everything is given in collateral” and if a person sins in this world, he is held accountable by Heaven and in the end is punished for those sins. There is no way to escape from being held accountable for our misdeeds, for, just as an animal is stuck in a trap, all the living cannot escape accountability for our actions. However, through repentance, one can lessen or rid himself of the punishment.

So too, the one who happily listens to the forbidden words that you relate in this world, though he may express joy or satisfaction at that which you utter, is held accountable in Heaven for that forbidden speech.

[2] This quote is taken from the Book of Amos (Amos: 4; 13), which states as follows:

“For behold, The One Who fashions mountains and creates wind, and [He] tells a person of his actions,… HaShem, Master of Legions, is His Name.”

RaSh”I explains that “…[He] tells a person of his actions…” teaches that each of a person’s deeds are related to them at the time of their passing.

[3] This statement resembles a continuation of the Mishna from Pirkei Avos (Chapter 3, Mishna 16), as follows, “…and the ledger is open, and The Hand writes…” This comes to teach us that The Holy One, Blessed is He, records everyone’s actions in The Book of Remembrance, the person paying for their sin (“debt”) at a fitting time.

[4] This teaching is recorded in the Will of Rabbi Eliezer, it being a Midrash on its own.

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