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, September 30, 2007

Shmiras HaLashon ז שבט - Shevat 7 - One-Hundred-and-Twenty-Sixth Day

© 2007 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

A person should obtain knowledge from that which we see concerning those who are [confined] in the prisons. [When one takes note of the actions of the prisoners, specifically at the time] when they are escorted to the judge [for] the inquiry and investigation [into their alleged crime], they guard their mouths and do not even emit one word from their mouths that is improper based on [the] matter [under discussion in court]. In addition, [these prisoners sustain] all of the punches and disparaging [acts directed against them], and they will [nevertheless] not admit [to] the truth. [The prisoners will not admit to their crime] even though they are cogizant that regardless [of the verdict] they will not live forever. [These prisoners are cautious to ensure that they do not say anything that would indicate their guilt, though] even if they were to admit [to their crime] they would almost certainly not die [in punishment for being found guilty], as [only] a [small] minority of [those who are found guilty] are sentenced to death. Notwithstanding [the above], it is easier for [these prisoners] to accept all of the afflictions [directed against] them, [even though there is only] a [small] doubt [that their] lives may be extended [if they are found innocent]. How much more so must those individuals who sit among the group of mockers for a [significant] number of hours, need to be embarrassed, [for they willingly associate with sinners and partake in sin, though] there is no one who hits them and compels them [to associate with these mockers]. If [that individual] will suppress [himself] from speaking forbidden words, he will merit eternal life, as is [taught] in [the] Midrash[1], that for every single moment that a person muzzles his mouth, [refraining from speaking that which is forbidden], he merits the hidden light that no angel and creature is able to imagine. In contrast, [if he speaks that which is forbidden], he will be punished for every single utterance, as the GR”A wrote in his holy letter, “Alim L’Tirufah”, [as follows]: ““All of the toil of the person is for his mouth…”[2] (Koheles: 6; 7) Our Sages of Blessed Memory have said [in “Koheles Rabbah”], that all of the mitzvos [that one performs] and The Torah [that he learns] is not sufficient [to counterbalance the forbidden speech] that he [allows to] emanate from his mouth. [This follows that which we learn in masechesChullin” (89a), as follows]: “What is the trade of a person in this world? He should make himself as a mute”[3], [we learn elsewhere that one] should stick his lips together as two millstones… [In addition], the entire [punishment] involving the slingshot [which one might experience after passing away], is entirely due to the breath [that emanates from his] mouth [in order to speak] idle chatter. For each word of nonsense [that one utters], he needs to be propelled from one end o the universe to the other end [by means of this slingshot. The aforementioned punishment is inflicted upon one for] speaking words of excess, however, [in punishment] for [involvement in] forbidden speech, such as Lashon HaRa, mockery, oaths, swearing, quarreling, and curses, and specifically in the shul and on Shabbos and Yom Tov, for these [sins, the person] must descend [a great distance] to [be punished in] the lower [levels] of sh’ole[4], it being impossible to imagine the greatness of the suffering and the troubles that the person undergoes because of one utterance, not even one [of the person’s] utterances is lost which is not recorded. Masters of Wings constantly go [to be] by every person, and do not separate from him, and they write every single utterance, [as it says in “Koheles”, “…for a bird of the Heavens will carry the voice, and The Master of Wings will relate the matter.”[5]” (Koheles: 10; 20) We learn [in masechesAvodah Zarah” (18b), as follows]: “Rav Katina said, “(Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said), ‘All of those who mock, fall into gehinnom.”[6]

[1] Note from the “Kol HaLashon” Hebrew printing of seferShmiras HaLashon”: This Midrash is quoted in “Iggeres HaGR”A”.

[2] The entire pasuk from “Koheles” reads as follows:

“All of the toil of the person is for his mouth, and also the soul will not be satiated.” (Koheles: 6; 7)

The explanation of some of the meforshim, including RaSh”I, is that the person works in order that he will have some food to put into his mouth. RaSh”I adds that the person toils also to his benefit in The World to Come.

The GR”A understands this pasuk in the context of the punishment which one may suffer through the toil involving that which he speaks with his mouth, and would consequently be punished for such forbidden speech.

[3] The passage from masechesChullin” (89a), states as follows:

“Rabbi Yitzchak said, ‘What is the meaning of that which is written, “If I were a mute, they would speak righteousness, they would judge people justly.” (Tehillim: 58; 2) What is the trade of a person in this world? He should act as a mute. Perhaps [this applies] even [in reference] to [involvement in speaking] words of Torah? The pasuk comes to teach us: “…you shall speak words of righteousness…” Perhaps [the person] can become haughty [through his study of Torah]? The pasuk comes to teach us: “…they will judge people justly.””

[4] “Sh’ole” refers to “gehinnom”, both of which are translated as “hell”.

[5] The entire pasuk reads, “Also in your thoughts do not curse the king and in your sleeping chambers, do not curse the wealthy [person], for a bird of the Heavens will carry the voice and The Master of Wings will relate the matter.” (Koheles: 10; 20)

RaSh”I explains that “the king” can either refer to HaShem who is The King of the Universe, or can refer to a human king. The “bird of the Heavens” refers to the person’s soul will carry the person’s thoughts and the angel which escorts the person during his lifetime will relate the matter which might seem to be hidden. RaSh”I explains that this “Master of Wings” can also refer to passersby, that being that anyone can hear that which was related in a seemingly secretive manner and relate that “hidden matter” to others.

[6] This section of the gemara from maseches “Avodah Zara” (18b), states as follows:

“Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said: ‘All of those who [involve themselves in] mockery fall into gehinnom, as it says [in “Mishlei”], “The haughty sinner, his name is “laitz” - “mocker”, he acts with “evrah” - outpouring sin.” (21; 24) And evrah only refers to gehinnom, as it says [in “Tzifaniah”], “That day is a day of “evrah”…” (Tzifaniah: 1; 15)