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

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Shmiras HaLashon בּ שבט - Shevat 2 - One-Hundred-and-Twenty-First Day

© 2007 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Behold, [concerning] all of [that which we have learned regarding the punishment that was inflicted upon Miriam for the Lashon HaRa that she had spoken], the person is able to contemplate with a kal va’chomer[1] [concerning the great punishment for involvement in Lashon HaRa and the severity of the sin], for nowadays we are all like moss on the wall compared to Miriam, the prophetess[2]. From the [separate] incidents [of Lashon HaRa involving] Miriam and the spies[3], the greatness of the punishment that comes [about as a result of] this [sin of Lashon HaRa], is evident to everyone. [Such a punishment for involvement in Lashon HaRa can occur if] one will not guard himself from [active involvement in] Lashon HaRa, [this being the case] even if [the Lashon HaRa that the person relates] is similar [in nature] to the incident involving Miriam. [The punishment that befalls the person who speaks Lashon HaRa, is] specifically [applicable] if [the person] speaks the Lashon HaRa with intent to disgrace and embarrass his fellow. [In such a situation, the speaker of Lashon HaRa] will definitely not be free from the great punishment of tzara’as, or of other punishments which come in the place [of the tzara’as affliction], (as we have written earlier [in volume] 1, chapter 5, ([as well as] in chapter 6[4]). [In such a situation, the punishment that will befall the person for involvement in the Lashon HaRa], will not be postponed on his account[5]. The [person] who hears [the above teaching concerning Miriam] and constantly fulfills it, to remember in [the aforementioned] manner [concerning the importance to avoid Lashon HaRa], will definitely be saved from this sin.

Consequently, from all [of that which we have learned], we will understand that each Jewish [person] needs to know the specifics of the laws of Lashon HaRa, in order that he will know [how] to be careful [in his avoidance of involvement in Lashon HaRa. It is essential that the person be familiar with the laws of Lashon HaRa], for [if the person is unfamiliar with some of the laws of Lashon HaRa, of] what benefit will [be gained by] remembering the incident involving Miriam? [For] if the evil inclination entices [the person to speak that which is forbidden, arguing] that this speech does not enter into the category of Lashon HaRa, or that concerning such a person The Torah did not command [one to refrain from when discussing] the prohibition of Lashon HaRa, [how could he be confident that he won’t come to involve himself in the sin of Lashon HaRa]?

[1] “Kal Va'Chomer” is an a fortiori argument.

[2] By saying that “we are like moss on the wall compared to Miriam”, the Chofetz Chaim is describing Miriam’s greatness and righteous compared to us.

[3] This refers to the incident where Moshe sent twelve spies to spy out what would become The Land of Israel, ten of whom spoke Lashon HaRa (and Motzi Shem Ra) about The Land of Israel, the exceptions being Yehoshua and Kalev. This incident is recorded in the beginning of ParshasSh’lach” (Bamidbar: 13).

[4] The fifth chapter of the first volume – “Sha’ar HaZechirah” – begins with the 25th day of Tishrei. The sixth chapter ends with the 30th day of Tishrei.

[5] As we learned previously, notwithstanding Miriam’s great righteousness and her positive intentions when she spoke the Lashon HaRa, she was punished immediately. How much more so, would the punishment not be delayed for a person who speaks Lashon HaRa with negative intentions and is on a much lower level than Miriam.

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