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, January 08, 2008

Shmiras HaLashon כ"בּ שבט - Shevat 22 - One-Hundred-and-Forty-First Day

© 2008 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

[Chofetz Chaim’s note: [It is appropriate for us] to say that [refraining from speaking when one has a doubt whether that speech is prohibited], is the intended [teaching] of the pasuk [from seferMishlei”, which states as follows]: “One who guards his mouth and [his] tongue, guards from troubles of his soul.” (Mishlei: 21; 23) Apparently, [by guarding one’s tongue even when it is doubtful that the speech violates a prohibition, the person] also merits [life in] The World to Come as a result of [such caution], as it is written [in “Tehillim”], “Who is the man who desires life…?[1]” (Tehillim: 34; 13), the intended meaning [of the pasuk being] eternal life [in The World to Come], as the miforshim have written[2]. However, according to [that which we have written, the above explanation on the pasuk from “Tehillim”] is fitting, meaning that [the person] constantly guards himself [from speaking that which is forbidden], even in every instance that he is doubtful as to the permissibility of speaking at that time, thinking] that he might perform a mitzvah by speaking, [he will] nevertheless guard himself [from speaking] since it has not been made clear to him [of its permissibility]. In reference to [not speaking in such a situation], the pasuk [teaches us] that [such behavior is] appropriate, for at the very least [the person] will consequently definitely be saved from suffering [in] gehinnom, as was mentioned earlier. The same does not hold true if he acts in the converse, it being possible, that instead of [realizing his] expectation to enter Gan Eden because of [having spoken when he wrongly assumed it to be a mitzvah], he will consequently [rather] enter gehinnom if it will be clarified that the law does not accord with [his action].]

Behold, up to this point we have explained [of the negative attributes that often lead to the sin of Lashon HaRa, that are referred to in the acronym] “כּל גיהנ"ם”, they being the evil traits that regularly lead the person to become rooted in [violating] the prohibition of Lashon HaRa.[3] Therefore, [based on the above], the person who wishes to cure himself from this severe malady [of involvement in Lashon HaRa, concerning] which he has been accustomed to for a great deal of time, should start off by examining himself [to determine] which [of the] evil traits caused him [to be entrenched in the sin of Lashon HaRa], and he [should] uproot [this trait] from himself. [The person should then] begin to heal himself little-by-little, by accustoming himself in the good traits which we have discussed in the earlier chapters.

[1] The entire pasuk states, “Who is the man who desires life, [who] loves days to see good? Guard your tongue from [speaking] evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Remove yourself from evil and do [that which is] good, seek out peace and pursue it.” (Tehillim: 34; 13 – 15)

[2] The miforshim who explain this pasuk as referring to life in The World to Come is Metzudas David and RaDa”K.

[3] “כּל גיהנ"ם” means “all of gehinnom” and is an acronym for seven of the negative attributes that can lead the person to involve himself in Lashon HaRa. These attributes are1) כּעס– Anger, 2) ליצנות– mockery, 3) גאוה – haughtiness, 4) יאוש – despair, 5) הפקר – viewing the law as having been abandoned, 6) נרגנות – grumbling, [and] 7) אומר מתּר – [one who] says, “it is permitted”. The discussion of these seven attributes are discussed in chapters 13 – 16 of “Sha’ar HaTevunah”, beginning on the 3rd of Shevat and concluding on the 22nd of Shevat.

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