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 21, 2008

Shmiras HaLashon כ"ח שבט - Shevat 28 - One-Hundred-and-Forty-Seventh Day

© 2008 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

[Involvement in] Torah study, [in addition to serving as a rectification for the blemish incurred from involvement in the sin of Lashon HaRa], is also a [preventative] remedy [so] that one will not come to [involve himself in the sin of] Lashon HaRa, as it says [in masechesArachin” (15b)[1], as follows]: “What is [the person’s] remedy so that he will not come to [transgress the sin of] Lashon HaRa? If he is a Torah scholar, he should involve himself in Torah [study].” The reason [that the study of The Torah will help prevent the person from coming to speak Lashon HaRa] is obvious, as is [evident from that which is taught in masechesSanhedrin” (99b), as follows]: ““Man is born to toil.”[2] (Iyov: 5; 7) [Based on this pasuk alone], I do not know whether the person was born for toil [involving] the mouth or for toil [involving] physical exertion. Once it says [in seferMishlei”], “…For his mouth has compelled him.”[3] (Mishlei: 16; 26), I would deduce [that one is born to involve oneself in] toil [involving] the mouth. [At this point], I still do not know whether [one was created in order to involve himself in] the toil [involving] Torah [study] or the toil of chatter, once it says [in the pasuk]…, I then [conclude] that one is created [to involve oneself in] the toil of Torah [study].” The matter [under discussion] is that from the time that a person is bestowed with [the power of speech], it being imbued within [his] nature that his tools of speech will act on their own [as by rote] and they will not be lax in this matter [of speaking, in contrast with the] person’s other limbs, which are lax and the person must arouse himself to encourage them [to engage in their designated behaviors. The above] is not the case concerning the power of speech, concerning which [our Sages] have said, “for the toil of the mouth”, [when describing the person’s obligation in terms of speech]. [The] person should contemplate that this power [of speech] was only given to him in order that he will merit [to involve himself] in Torah, concerning which it is said that the remedy [offered to the individual] in order that he will not come to [violate the prohibition] of Lashon HaRa is only through involvement in Torah [study], for if not for [his involvement in the study of The Torah], a person will definitely stumble in forbidden types of speech. [The aforementioned is true], for it is within the nature of a person that his [mouth] will not be closed unless one is able to overpower his [evil] inclination and make himself similar to a mute, as [our Sages of Blessed Memory] have said in [maseches] “Chullin” (89a) .[4]

[1] The text of the gemara states as follows:

“Rabbi Elazar said, ‘Every person was created in order to toil, as it says, “For the person was born to toil…” (Iyov: 5; 7) [Based on this pasuk alone], I do not know whether the person was created for toil [involving] the mouth or for toil [involving] physical exertion. Once the [pasuk] says, “…for his mouth has compelled him.” (Mishlei: 16; 26), [it is clear] that [the person] has been created for toil [involving] the mouth. I still do not know whether [he was created to involve himself] in toil [involving words] of Torah or for ordinary speaking, once it says [in seferYehoshua”, “The Book of This Torah shall not be moved from your mouth…” (Yehoshua: 1; 8), [it is evident] that the person is created [to involve himself in] Torah [study]. [The above] follows that which Rava said, ‘They are all [created] to exert themselves, praiseworthy is the one who exerts himself in Torah [study].’ “One who has an adulterous relationship with a woman is heartless…” (Mishlei: 6; 32) Reish Lakish said, ‘[The above] refers to one who learns Torah on occasion, as it says, “For they are pleasant when you guard them in your stomach, they will be set firmly together when they are upon your lips.” (Mishlei: 22; 18)”

[2] The entire pasuk reads, “For man was created to toil, [just as] the sparks [from the] firey cinders fly upwards.” (Iyov: 5; 7) (Translation of the pasuk is based on the commentary of Metzudas David.) Metzudas David explains that just as it is natural for the sparks of the firey cinders to fly upwards, so too, it is natural for the person to invest effort to provide himself with food.

[3] The entire pasuk reads, “A person who toils, toils for himself, for his mouth has compelled him [to toil].” (Translation is based on RaSh”I.) RaSh”I explains that the peson is compelled to toil, as it is necessary for him to sustain himself by working so he can buy food to feed his mouth. RaSh”I on the gemara explains that when the person involves himself in Torah study to the extent that it is comparable to the saddle that is on top of the donkey, it being found there on a constant basis, then he benefits by having The Torah toil on his behalf. The word for saddle is “אוכף” which is translated in the context of the pasuk as “compelled”. Alternatively, RaSh”I explains that one who constantly reviews his Torah learning benefits as it becomes orderly in his mind, similar to one who becomes accustomed to a given tune as he regularly sings that tune.

[4] The text from the gemara states, “Rabbi Ila said, ‘The world only continues to exist for the sake of one who curbs – בולם – bolame – his mouth at the time of a quarrel, as it says, “…He suspends the earth on nothingness.” (Iyov: 26; 7)’ Rabbi Abahu said, ‘[The world continues to exist for the sake of] one who acts as if he doesn’t exist, as it says, “…and the world is below His powerful Arms…” (Divarim: 33; 27)’ (RaSh”I – i.e. One who is trampled below everything else) “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.””

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