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, December 12, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon כ"ג כּסלו - Kislev 23 - Eighty-Third Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

If, [the person who] began to speak with Reuven concerning Shimon, [initiated the discussion about Shimon] being [that he was] unaware [of Reuven’s hatred of Shimon], and [only once] in the midst [of the discussion does] he realize, based on the [direction of the conversation, that Reuven bears hatred] in his heart [against Shimon], and, as a result of this, they would come to [involve themselves in] Lashon HaRa, [in such an instance, he should act as follows]: If he does not have any counsel to [follow that would allow him to] remove himself [from the conversation] and walk away from [Reuven], he should [then] remove himself from [the current] topic [of conversation that relates to Shimon, switching the conversation] to another topic [of conversation].

Similarly, if a situation occurs [where one] begins to speak, and, [as he speaks], he senses within himself, that, upon concluding [verbalizing that which he intends to] speak, he will thereby be caught in the sin of Lashon HaRa, or any of the other similarly forbidden types of speech, he should gird [himself] within his soul, to fight [against] his [evil] inclination, to interrupt himself in the middle [of what he is saying], and change the subject [to a permitted topic of conversation. The aforementioned] is similar [to a situation, where], if in the midst of eating, he were to be informed that this [food] is something [that is halachically[1]] forbidden [to be consumed], he would certainly interrupt [his meal] instantaneously and would even spit out that which is inside his mouth (as is written in seferYa’aras D’vash”). Even if at times one would become embarrassed by [changing the direction of the conversation to avoid speaking that which is forbidden, he must nevertheless avoid speaking that which is forbidden]. [In reference to such types of situations], our Sages of Blessed Memory have said [in maseches Eduyos (Chapter 5, Mishna 6), as follows]: “It is better that a person be called a fool [for] all of his days [by other people], and not be evil for even one moment before [HaShem’s] Presence.” The RaMBa”N has already written in sefer “Sha’ar HaG'mul[2] that one moment in gehinnom is more severe than the afflictions [that] Iyov[3] [suffered] all of his days. It is [also] known that a person would prefer to be embarrassed and not suffer severe afflictions, [therefore, it is only sensible for a person to risk embarrassment and avoid sinning].

All that which we have written [where we teach that one should completely avoid speaking with one individual concerning a person he hates, applies in a situation where] there is no way to rectify the matter. However, if [the person’s] words are heard [and have the potential to affect positive results and rectify the situation], and he possesses the ability to make peace between [these two individuals], it is definitely a mitzvah to hear all that which [has occurred that] involves them, and [in doing so] there is no prohibition of Lashon HaRa, whatsoever.

[1] “Halachically” is the equivalent of “according to Jewish law”.

[2] Note from the “Kol HaLashon” Hebrew printing of seferShmiras HaLashon”: [See Chapter 7, Mishna 7, in the “Chachmah U’Musar” printing, who wrote in a similar vein. [[It says] over there that the punishment and afflictions of gehinnom are not similar to [any punishment and suffering] in this world.] [Furthermore], the text of Rabbeinu corresponds to the words of the Mishna in [Pirkei] Avos, (Chapter 4, Mishna 17).]

The Mishna from Pirkei Avos states in the name of Rabbi Ya’akov, that “One moment of repentance and good deeds in this world is better than the entire life of The World to Come, and one moment of spiritual enjoyment in The World to Come is better than the entire life of this world.” (4; 17)

The Mishna states the converse of what the RaMBa”N is quoted as saying in seferSha’ar HaG'mul”. The RaMBa”N points out that even one moment of punishment in gehinnom is more severe than all of the suffering that Iyov underwent in his lifetime. The Mishna from Pirkei Avos notes the spiritual enjoyment of one moment in The World to Come surpasses all of the enjoyment experienced in this world.

The explanation of the Mishna from Pirkei Avos is as follows: The ability to attain great spiritual reward in this world, even for a moment, surpasses the ability of one who already resides in The World to Come. However, the spiritual joy of one moment in The World to Come, surpasses all of the joy one can attain in this world.

[3] Iyov is an individual, who, for a great portion of his life, suffered terrible tragedy which befell his family and himself. He lost his seven sons and three daughters, his wealth, as well as his own physical afflictions. (See the first two chapter of seferIyov”.) The Book of Iyov is an account of Iyov’s great suffering. To illustrate the great suffering in gehinnom, the Chofetz Chaim quotes the RaMBa”N who notes that the punishment experienced in even one moment of gehinnom is greater than the great suffering that Iyov experienced in his entire lifetime.

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