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"ז חשון - Cheshvan 27 - Fifty-Seventh Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

It is very good and fitting to conduct oneself [in the manner] in which I have heard one wise man advise his friend: [The wise man told his friend] that during the summer, on the Holy Shabbos, he should never stand in close proximity to the synagogue and to the Beis Midrash[1] after Seudas Shlishis[2], in order to relate to one person of a given matter. For from two [participants in the conversation, the conversation expands] to involve three [people], and from three [people, the conversation soon involves] four [people, then] five, [then] six, until eventually [the conversation attracts] a large group. [Whereupon joining the group], each [person] relates his issues and business dealing of the past week, and, thereby, it is impossible that [the participants] will not come to [speak] Lashon HaRa as well as [involve themselves in words of] mockery. All of this [forbidden speech] was brought about by the first [person, as he initiated the conversation] which led to all of this [forbidden speech]. Therefore, the wise person has his eyes in his head.[3]

Whoever sinned up to this point, and led the masses to sin in this matter, and [now] wishes to rectify his soul, [should follow the advice of the Sages]. For it is known that which our Sages of Blessed Memory have said[4]: “The righteous
are reconciled [through teshuvah] with the same thing they [use] to sin.” Therefore, first of all, [a person] should accustom himself to distance himself from sitting in the groups of people, [it having been] against his nature up until the present [to avoid such gatherings. This follows] a hint which the Shlah wrote[5] [in reference] to this [above teaching] from the [following] pasuk, “You shall not be a talebearer among your nation…”, its explanation being, that you who are a talebearer, your solution is that you should not go [about] in the midst of your nation. In addition, [that person who had sinned by attracting groups of people to hear his forbidden speech], should see to it to bring merit to the masses through his speech, and rebuke them and urge them to [go in the ways of the] Torah and mitzvos, as well as bring peace between one man and his fellow.

[1] Beis Midrash is the House of Torah Study.

[2] Seudas Shlishis is the third of the three meals eaten on Shabbos and means “the third meal”.

[3] This statement comes from Koheles (2; 14), which states as follows:

“The wise person has his eyes in his head, and the fool walks in darkness…”

RaSh”I states that a wise person having his eyes in his head means that at the beginning of the matter, the wise person looks to see what the outcome will be.

Onkelos explains the entire verse as follows:

In the beginning, the wise person sees what will occur in the end, and he prays and he [thereby] nullifies the evil decree from the world. However, the fool walks in the darkness. I also know that if the wise person does not pray and [thereby lead to a] nullification of the evil decree from the world, [then], when there will be suffering in the world, one outcome will befall all of them, [both the wise people and the foolish people].”

In the context of sefer
Shmiras HaLashon, this statement is coming to inform us that we should avoid doing an action that may very well lead to people congregating around and relating all that which happened to them over the previous week, for this will almost inevitably lead to involvement in forbidden speech. This forbidden speech would not have occurred had the individual not initiated the conversation and acted with “his eyes in his head”.

[4] See Shmos Rabbah (23; 3), where the text varies from the text recorded here. See also the Tanchuma, Bishalach, 24, and the text quoted from Rabbi Likuchah from the Sha’arei Teshuvah, Sha’ar 1; 35.

Shmos Rabbah states as follows:

Az Yashir Moshe…” – “Then Moshe… sang…” (Shmos: 15; 1): This [relates] to that which is written, “My bride, your lips drip with [honey]…” (Shir HaShirim: 4; 11) Moshe said, ‘Master of the worlds, with that very thing which I have sinned before You, I shall honor You’. Rabbi Levi bar Chiya said, “This is analogous to a country that rebels against the king, [whereupon], the king says to his commander, ‘Let us go and attack it’. The commander says to the king, ‘You are not able [to overcome that country].’ The king was silent and
[during the] night went himself and conquered [that country]. The commander knew about this and made a crown for the king. The king said to him, “[For] what reason [is] this crown [being presented]?” [The commander] said, ‘Since I sinned in this matter, and I said to you that you are not able [to overcome the country that you conquered, I am now presenting you with this crown].’ Such is what Moshe said before The Holy One, Blessed is He, ‘I know that I sinned before You with [the word] “Az” – “Then”, as it says, “And from then I have come to Pharaoh to speak in Your Name, You have brought evil to this nation, and You have certainly not saved Your nation.” (Shmos: 5; 23) Behold, You have drowned him in the Sea, therefore I am praising you with “Az”, this being in reference to that which is written, Az Yashir Moshe” – “Then Moshe…will sing…” Come and see the way of the righteous, with that which they [employ toward] sin, they [use in the] rectification [of that wrongdoing]. This relates to that which is written, “My bride, your lips drip with [honey]…” (Shir HaShirim: 4; 11)…” The teaching quoted from Tanchuma is the same as that which is quoted above from Shmos Rabbah.

In Sha’arei Teshuvah, Rabbeinu Yonah quotes the teaching that the righteous are rectified with the same matter in which they sin. Rabbeinu Yonah notes that if one sinned with Lashon HaRa, he should study Torah. If he stared at immodestly clad [women], he should have his eyes lowered when walking around. The same is true for all of one’s limbs that he uses to sin, he should try and rectify the sin by using those limbs to perform mitzvos. For example, if he runs to commit sins, he should run to perform mitzvos, if he initiated conflicts, he should seek and pursue peace.

[5] Note included in the Kol HaLashon printing of sefer
Shmiras HaLashon: See in the Holy Shlah, maseches Yoma, Amud HaTeshuvah (64b), where he wrote this fundamental point, which states that people should rectify themselves with the thing that they used to sin. This is written in respect to Lashon HaRa, that he should remedy [this sin] with involvement in Torah learning. Furthermore, [the Shlah also] wrote this in Rosh HaShanah, Torah Ohr, (59b), in Darchei Teshuvah, the sixth path, that a person should rectify the sin of the tongue, measure for measure. However, he did not bring a hint to this from the pasuk, see over there [for more on this teaching].

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