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

Monday, January 07, 2008

Shmiras HaLashon כ שבט - Shevat 20 - One-Hundred-and-Thirty-Ninth Day

© 2008 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

[Learning and reviewing the laws of Lashon HaRa] is a fitting piece of advice with respect to guarding the tongue [from forbidden speech. Familiarity with the laws of Lashon HaRa would benefit the person to overcome his habituation with this sin, for] even if [the person] is already accustomed in [the sin of Lashon HaRa], Heaven Forbid, his evil inclination having strengthened itself over him in this matter to the extent that he doesn’t sense the Lashon HaRa that he emits from his mouth, nevertheless, he should not give up hope [in overcoming his Yetzer HaRa in] this [matter. On the contrary], he should be well aware, that by constant review [of the] the laws [pertaining to Lashon HaRa], on multiple occasions, the matter [relating to his involvement in the sin of Lashon HaRa] will reverse, and [this] matter [of observance of the laws of Lashon HaRa] will be ingrained in his nature, [to the extent] that he will eventually sense every single utterance that emanates from his mouth, [this being true] even [with respect to] Avak Lashon HaRa[1]. [Once the person carefully reviews the laws of Lashon HaRa, he will be very keen with regards to everything that he utters], for The Holy One, Blessed is He, has implanted within the person the ability to sense, and has [embedded this ability within] his nature, being [particularly] sensitive to those matters at the time that they relate to his tongue. ([The above teaching] relates to that which our Sages of Blessed Memory have said [in maseches] “Chullin” (17b), [as follows]: “[Our] master, [Rav Sheishess], examined [the shechitah knife] with his tongue.”[2]) This power [of being sensitive to that which one utters], is very beneficial to [one’s] Torah learning, for at the time that he emits a matter from his heart to his tongue, he then examines the matter [to determine] whether it is fitting [to utter], as our Sages of Blessed Memory have said [in masechesEruvin” (54a), as follows]: “For [Torah study is] life for those who emit it [from] their mouth.”[3] In a similar vein, [the above is true concerning] all matters [involving] speech, only [that] due to his being greatly accustomed to speak words of excess, and not pay attention to [his words, consequently his natural] ability [to be sensitive to that which he utters] is greatly diminished. Certainly, once [the person] will [heed the advice that is offered] above, he will definitely take note of the words that he will speak from that point forward. [By acting in this manner, the person’s] ability to sense [the acceptability of that which he utters], will little by little become more acute, to the point that [his ability to sense the acceptability of his speech will assume its original level of acuteness subsequent to its having been dulled by his habituation to Lashon HaRa.]

[1] “Avak Lashon HaRa” is “the dust of Lashon HaRa” and is something which isn’t outright Lashon HaRa, but it implies Lashon HaRa.

[2] The gemara in masechesChullin” notes the different ways that the shechitah (slaughtering) knife was checked. According to the gemara, “Rav Sheishess checked [the shechitah knife] with the tip of his tongue.”

Apparently, based on this section of “Shmiras HaLashon” and the fact that Rav Sheishess specifically used his tongue to examine the shechitah knife, it is evident that the tongue is the most sensitive of all of the organs and would be most prone to discover any knicks on the knife that would make it unusable for shechitah.

[3] The text of the gemara is as follows: “Shmuel said to Rav Yehuda: ‘Sharp one, open your mouth and read, open your mouth and learn, so that your [Torah learning] will remain within you and [that] you will prolong your life, as it says, “For they (i.e. the wisdom of The Torah – Metzudas David) are life for those who find them and it [provides] healing for all of his flesh.” (Mishlei: 4; 22) Do not read it [as] “those who find them” – “למוֹצאי-הם”, rather, [read it as], “those who [utter] it from their mouths” – “למוציאי-הם בּפּה”.”

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