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, November 25, 2007

Shmiras HaLashon י שבט - Shevat 10 - One-Hundred-and-Twenty-Ninth Day

© 2007 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Chapter 14

In this Chapter [we] Shall Explain [of one of] the Cause[s] of Lashon HaRa, [specifically that] it Comes [About] as a result of [one’s] being accustomed [in the Trait of] Haughtiness

[In addition to the previously discussed negative character traits that often lead one to speak Lashon HaRa], some [people speak Lashon HaRa] as a result of the [attribute of] haughtiness [that resides within them], that being that [the person] considers himself to be a wise person and a [distinguished] man among men, [in contrast to] everyone else [who he] views as lowly. Therefore, [as the haughty person looks down upon other people, he] is determined to make fun of his fellow. Furthermore, [the attribute] of haughtiness leads one to become jealous and hateful of [those] who [are] viewed as honorable by the people of the city. [This haughty individual] will be envious and bear enmity against [those who are respected], for he imagines that his [own] honor is diminished as a result of [those who are respected], and he says [to himself]: ‘If not for [these other people who are honored], I would be described among people as being a distinguished person.’ [This haughty individual who feels that his honor is being diminished at the expense of the honor shown to others], will examine and seek out [the] hidden secrets [of these honored individuals], in order [to obtain] some [compromising information] to relate against [the honored individual], whether it is true or false, so as to diminish [the stature of] his name with respect to [the] other people [who had shown him honor], and to [thereby] display his superiority over [this other person], to lower his stature, to shame him and embarrass him. At times, due to [his] haughtiness, [the person] will [lead himself to be involved in] all four categories [that comprise] “חשמ"ל” – “Chashmal”, [[this being an] acronym [for]: “Flatterers” – “חנפים”, “liars” – “שקרנים”, “speakers of Lashon HaRa” – “מספרי לשון הרע”, [and] “mockers” – “לצים” – [this acronym is] based on the gemara [in maseches] “Sotah” (42a).[1]] [This haughty individual] will speak of shameful [matters] concerning his fellow [in order] that he will [thereby] be honored and his fellow will [consequently] be scorned. [This haughty person] will glorify [himself] through [his] lies as well as by [relating positive] attributes [concerning himself] which he [in reality] doesn’t possess. Because of his haughtiness, he will constantly flatter evildoers, and will not rebuke them [for their wrongs] so that they will not [come to] hate him and [thereby] detract [from] his honor. Therefore, one who wishes to purify his soul from this bitter sin [of haughtiness], will constantly consider the greatness of the shame of [the attribute of] haughtiness. [The attribute of haughtiness is shameful], for how can a person become haughty, [considering that he] began his existence [by being] formed from a putrid drop, and in the future he will go to a place of dirt, maggot and worm, and they will consume him little by little.

[1] The relevant passage in masechesSotah” (42a), states as follows:

“Rav Yirmiyah the son of Abba said: ‘Four groups [of people] do not receive G-d’s Divine Presence: The group of flatterers, the group of liars, the group of mockers, [and] the group of speakers of Lashon HaRa. The group of mockers [do not receive G-d’s Presence], as it is written “...He withdrew His hand [from being with] mockers” (Hoshea: 7; 5), the group of flatterers, as it is written, “For a flatterer does not come before Him.” (Iyov: 13; 16), the group of liars, as it is written, “One who speaks lies will not be established before My eyes.” (Tehillim: 101; 7), The group of habitual speakers of Lashon HaRa [do not receive G-d’s Presence], as it is written, “For You are G-d who does not desire evil, evil will not dwell with You [in Your midst].” (Tehillim: 5; 5) You are righteous HaShem, evil will not dwell in Your abode”.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Shmiras HaLashon ט שבט - Shevat 9 - One-Hundred-and-Twenty-Eighth Day

© 2007 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

[In addition to suffering in gehinnom], the [habitual] mocker also suffers in this world, as [our Sages] have said [in masechesAvodah Zarah” (18b)[1], [as follows]: “Rabbi Elazar said, “[Concerning] all of those who involve themselves in mockery, suffering befalls [them], as it says, “And now do not mock, lest your suffering will be intensified…”[2] (Yishayahu: 28; 22) Rava said to the Rabbis, “I beg of you not to [involve yourselves in words of] mockery, [so] that suffering will not befall you.” [[Furthermore] see [that which is taught] in “Sha’arei Teshuvah” of Rabbeinu Yonah (Gate 3, 177), [where] he wrote that it is forbidden to [speak words of] mockery, even [if it is spoken] on occasion and of rare occurrence. [In fact], the Sages were required to warn their students in reference to this type of [mockery], for many [people] stumble [in this sin] on a rare occasion].[3]

[In addition to other punishments the habitual mocker experiences, such a person] also [is punished with] a decrease in [his available supply of] sustenance [as a result of this sin of mockery], as [our Sages] have said [in masechesAvodah Zarah” (18b)]. In addition, the entire world is punished [on account] of the habitual mocker, as [our Sages] have said [in masechesAvodah Zarah” 18b]: “All those who mock cause destruction [to come] to the world.”

Even if one will not [actively] join up [with these habitual mockers by assisting them] in their mockery, [but instead] only sits [with them] in their groups, [such association with mockers] is also completely prohibited, as it says, “…and he did not sit in a dwelling [place] of mockers.” (Tehillim: 1; 1) [It is taught] in “Avos D’Rabbi Nosson”, [in] chapter 30 (letter ג), [as follows]: “One who causes himself to cling to transgressors, though he does not act as they act, is punished just as they are [punished].”[4] Therefore, a person must distance himself from sitting in their dwellings, in order so that they do not learn from [these mockers]. Rather, he [should] sit amongst a dwelling [of people] in whose midst words of Torah are [heard], and then it is praiseworthy for him in this [world] and in [The World] to Come.

[1] Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi expounded, [as follows]: “What is the meaning of that which is written, “Praiseworthy is the man who did not walk in the council of evildoers and he did not stand in the path of sinners and he did not sit in the dwelling of mockers” (Tehillim: 1; 1)? Once he would not walk, where would he stand? Once he would not stand, where would he sit? Once he would not sit, where would he mock? Rather, [this pasuk from “Tehillim” is coming to] inform you that if you walk [in the council of sinners], you will eventually stand [in the path of sinners], and if he stands [in the path of sinners], he will eventually sit [in the dwelling of mockers], and if he sits he will eventually [come to] mock, and if he mocks, the pasuk says concerning him, [as follows]: “If you have become wise, you have become wise for yourself and [you yourself will bear your] mockery.” (Mishlei: 9; 12) Rabbi Elazar said, “Suffering befalls all of those who mock, as it says, “And now, do not mock lest your suffering will be intensified…” (Yishayahu: 22; 28) Rava said to the rabbis, “I pleadingly ask of you not to mock so that suffering will not befall you.” Rav Katina said, “The sustenance of all of those who mock, diminishes, as it says, “he has joined up with mockers.” (Hoshea: 7; 5) Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish said, “All of those who mock fall into gehinnom, as it says, “The haughty sinner is named “mocker”, he acts with overpouring sinfulness.” (Mishlei: 21; 24), and “evrah” – “overpouring” – only refers to gehinnom, as it says, “That day is a day of evrah…” (Tzifaniah: 1; 15)… Rabbi Chanilai the son of Chanilai said, “All of those who mock cause destruction to [come to] the world, as it says, “And now do not mock lest your suffering intensifies, for I have heard of destruction and cutting off [upon the entire land]…” (Yeshayahu: 28; 22)

[2] The entire pasuk from seferYishayahu” states as follows: “And now do not mock lest your suffering intensify, for I have heard from HaShem concerning destruction and cutting off [coming] upon the entire land.” (Yishayahu: 28; 22)

[3] Rabbeinu Yonah teaches that one would only become a habitual mocker if they have removed the Yoke of Heaven from upon themselves. Therefore, measure for measure, the habitual mockers bears the yoke of suffering.

Rabbeinu Yonah goes on to teach that the gemara discusses how the Sages had to warn their students not to involve themselves in the irregular type of mockery. The note on this teaching states that the rabbis had to warn their students against the irregular mockery as it was clear that they would not regularly involve themselves in mockery.

[4] We learn in “Avos D’Rabbi Nosson” that one who assists in the sin, though he was not the main sinner, he is punished as the main sinners are punished. Rabbi Akiva teaches that if two witnesses were already found to be false witnesses and are being taken to be killed for their sin, and at that moment, another person says that he would also like to testify against the defendant along with the first two witnesses, if that third person is also found to be a false witness, he is similarly put to death, since he is held accountable for having associated with the original sinners.