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, August 07, 2007

Shmiras HaLashon כ"ח טבת - Teves 28 - One-Hundred-and-Eighteenth Day

© 2007 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Chapter 12

In [this Chapter, we] shall Explain [Concerning] that which The Torah said, [That being] that [the] Remembrance of the Incident Involving Miriam, Benefits [the Person, By] Saving him from this Bitter Sin [of Lashon HaRa]

There is a general piece of advice to [help] save [oneself] from this bitter sin [of Lashon HaRa] and from its’ punishment, that [piece of advice] being that which HaShem Yisbarach [has] taught us in Parshas “[Ki] Seitzei”, [as follows]: “Guard yourself concerning the tzara’as affliction, to guard exceedingly and to perform in accordance with all that which the Kohanim will instruct you…”, and juxtaposed [to that verse is written], “Remember that which HaShem your G-d did to Miriam on the path when you left Egypt.” (Divraim: 24; 8 – 9) We learn in Sifra[1], [as follows]: “Remember that which [HaShem] did…” – Perhaps [such remembrance is sufficient] in your heart? When [the previous pasuk] says ”Guard yourself concerning the tzara’as affliction, to guard exceedingly and to perform...”, behold guarding of the heart is stated [over here], (for the Sifra explains “Guard the tzara’as affliction” – [to mean] “from the tzara’as affliction”, the intended meaning [of this being] that we should not divert our hearts from guarding [ourselves] from the sin [of Lashon HaRa] which leads to this [punishment of tzara’as]). [Now that we already have a source for remembering in our hearts to guard ourselves from the sin of Lashon HaRa], what do I [derive from the command to] “Remember” [that which HaShem did to Miriam because of the Lashon HaRa that she spoke against Moshe]? [You learn] that you should verbally repeat [this incident]. This being the case [that one is commanded to verbally mention the incident involving Miriam’s punishment for speaking Lashon HaRa against Moshe]*[2], [then we see that] it is the will of the Torah that one mentions the punishment [for] this great sin [of Lashon HaRa, both] in [one’s] heart and verbally, in order to benefit our souls through [these actions. The above teaching follows that which] the RaMBa”N wrote in the seventh mitzvah of his [discussion of the] mitzvos, [as follows]: “We are commanded to verbally mention and to return to our hearts, [concerning] that which HaShem, Yisaleh[3], did to Miriam, once she spoke [Lashon HaRa] concerning her brother, though she was a prophetess. [We must verbally mention the punishment that HaShem inflicted upon Miriam], in order that we will distance ourselves from Lashon HaRa, and so that we will not be among the group of those, concerning whom it says [in seferTehillim”, as follows]: “When you sit down [to rest], you speak [slander] concerning your brother, you [even] speak slander [against] the son of your mother.”[4][5] (Tehillim: 50; 20) For, in truth, remembering the prohibition and the greatness of the punishment [of Lashon HaRa], brings one to guard [oneself] from [this sin of Lashon HaRa], just as remembering positive commandments brings one to fulfill them, as it is written, “…and you shall remember the commandments of HaShem and you shall perform them…” (Bamidbar: 15; 39), the explanation [of the pasuk in this context] follows RaSh”I[6].

[1] Note from the “Kol HaLashon” printing: This teaching from the “Sifra” is found on ParshasBichukosai”, Parsha 1, on the pasukIm Bichukosai” (21; 3).

[2] Chofetz Chaim’s note: As this is the case, apparently, from the straightforward understanding of the pasuk, one is required to verbally mention the punishment [that] Miriam [underwent. However, we are not accustomed] to be careful in this matter [of reciting the pasuk related to the tzara’as punishment that Miriam suffered for speaking Lashon HaRa against Moshe. The fact that many people do not recite the pasuk related to Miriam’s punishment] requires investigation.

[3] “Yisaleh” means “elevated”.

[4] See note three on the 27th day of Tishrei for commentary on this pasuk.

[5] In another text of the RaMBa”N’s writing on the seventh mitzvah, it says that we should remember that which Amalek did to The Jewish People once we left Egypt, when they attacked us and showed no fear of HaShem. By remembering that which Amalek did, we will realize that HaShem will not wipe out the name of
Amalek for no reason, rather He will wipe out Amalek out of His pity for The Jewish People. Similarly, people should remember the incident involving Miriam have spoken Lashon HaRa against Moshe and her ensuing pusnishment to help us so that we will not fall prey to involving ourselves in the sin of Lashon HaRa and suffer a similar type of punishment.

[6] RaSh”I points out that the numerical value of the Hebrew word “tzitzis” – “ציצית” is 600. In addition, tzitzis has eight strings and five knots, on each of the four corners, which total 613, the number of mitzvos in The Torah. The Torah informs us that one of the purposes of tzitzis is to remind us concerning the 613 commandments of The Torah.

Clearly, just as one remembers to perform the 613 mitzvos by seeing the tzitzis, so too, by reciting the pasuk which commands us to remember of the punishment that HaShem inflicted upon Miriam, we would be reminded to avoid involving ourselves in the sin of Lashon HaRa.

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