"Every person is granted a certain amount of words to speak during his lifetime, except for that which pertains to Torah and mitzvos. Thus, every person can add some years to his life by carefully choosing what to speak about (Derech Pekudechah, 34)”
[*footnote 37, following article below]
[*footnote 37, following article below]
"Addressing the media at the faction meeting, Netanyahu scolded them for what he described as 'a huge media campaign against me designed to topple the Likud government’ […] describing the situation as 'outrageous'.”
[…] The prime minister claimed that certain members of the press were acting not just as journalists but also as “investigators, judges and hangmen” in an effort to politically decapitate him.
“An entire investigation is being conducted on television,”... “Every evening they are disseminating selectively and carefully filtered transcripts and deliberate lies on the two issues in question,” referring to the steady stream of broadcasts by Channel 2 on recorded conversations between the prime minister and Yediot Aharonot publisher Arnon “Noni” Mozes.
“So I want to say to you […] in a democracy, governments are changed at the polling booth, not through orchestrated pressure on the attorney-general and the law enforcement services [… .] (JPost
§ § § § §
The following is from Life Insurance and Loshon Hora:
Have you ever wondered why at the end of Shemonah Esrei we first ask Hashem, “Guard my tongue from evil...and then request from Him, ‘Open my heart to Your Torah...’”? The Chofeitz Chayim1 says, “These two requests flow naturally from one another. One’s Torah maintains its value only when one guards his tongue; otherwise the Torah is considered worthless.2 3 We therefore first pray that we may merit to speak properly and only then do we ask Hashem for the merit to study His holy Torah.”
Continuing, 4 “It never ceases to amaze me how people are looking for mystical charms and blessings from our great sages for success and livelihood. But what possible value is there in these amulets and blessings if, G-d forbid, this person routinely violates the sin of loshon hora and the sin of rechilus? The Torah5 specifically promises this person that he will be cursed: ‘Cursed (‘arur’) is the person, who secretly hits his fellow Jew,’ where Rashi explains this as pertaining to loshon hora.6
If people would listen to me, I would advise them even further: They should be especially careful to avoid this sin and not to in any way actively cause any ‘bad’ to their fellow Jew, especially in the realm of theft or violence or oppression and deception and other similarly ‘bad’ actions (most certainly these reasons are a major catalyst towards the loss of a person’s wealth, to the point where he is left with nothing... Nevertheless, if my advice is followed then obviously, this person’s assets will be blessed far more than using any mystical amulets. Everyone knows that the curses in the Torah are always preceded by Hashem’s blessings: ‘blessed is whoever does not hit his fellow Jew - and all of Israel answered Amen to this.’7 Most assuredly this blessing will come true and will endure.8
...There is yet another great and holy benefit that evolves from disciplining one’s language. That great benefit is peace!9 If one is very careful about one’s speech he will remove from himself the jealousy of others. People will like him and will confide secrets to him. People will not gossip about this person because they hold this person in high esteem. It is said in the name of the AriZal that measure for measure, as you are discreet about other people, they will be discreet about you…”10
Why is Torah study equal to all the mitzvos11 and speaking loshon hora equal to all sins combined?12 The Chofeitz Chayim explains:
“Other commandments involve limbs such as the hands or feet. Deeds accomplished with the more physical parts of the body do not have the same spiritual impact as those executed with one’s thought and speech, which are more spiritual in nature. When G-d created Adam, the Torah says that, ‘He blew into his nostrils a spirit of life and the man became a living soul.’13 Onkelos translates the phrase ‘living soul’ as ‘speaking soul.’ Thus, speech represents the spiritual aspect of a human being.14 Since they both entail speech, Torah study is the ultimate mitzvah, while loshon hora is the ultimate sin.”15 16 17
For this reason, the Vilna Gaon comments18 as follows: Until the day he dies, each day man must impose restrictions, to discipline himself... through restraining his mouth19 and his desires; that is true teshuvah! All the benefits of Olam Haba evolve from this.20 Shlomo HaMelech alluded to this in mishlei,21 ‘A mitzvah is a candle22 and Torah is illumination...23 but the pathway for life is (self) imposed discipline.’ This is greater than all of the fasting and lashes in the whole world (combined).24
However, the person who consciously closes his mouth, who refrains from loshon hora, will earn in Olam Haba the radiance that is stored away for those people who are tzaddikim. The Gaon from Vilna comments in the name of the midrash that for every moment man keeps his mouth closed,25 he earns the merit of receiving a holy radiance (whose benefit) is far beyond the comprehension of any angel or being.26 Therefore, Dovid HaMelech warns us, that whoever wants an everlasting life in Olam Haba and wants to see good in this world should guard his tongue from speaking evil.27
Practically speaking, the prohibition of loshon hora applies whether one disparages the other person by speaking about him or by writing28 about him. Additionally, there is no difference whether one speaks the loshon hora explicitly or merely hints it.29 It is considered loshon hora regardless of how the information is conveyed.30 The Torah prohibits loshon hora that is spoken even light-heartedly or in jest. Since the speaker’s words are, in fact, derogatory, this type of speech is forbidden even though it does not stem from hatred and the speaker has no intention to disparage the other person.31 Moreover, the prohibition of loshon hora can apply even if the speaker does not specify whom he is speaking about.32 It is forbidden to speak loshon hora about any Jew33 to one’s parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, a spouse or in- laws.”34
Napoleon Hill said, “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”
The Noam Elimelech35 identifies loshon hora as one of the mitzvos which people do not take seriously, causally trampling with their heels.36 Likewise, the Chofeitz Chayim says, “People have become used to saying whatever happens to come out of their mouth,37 without first considering that perhaps what they say is considered rechilus or loshon hora.”38 Nevertheless, we are all human and make mistakes. As Shlomo HaMelech states, “There is no man so completely righteous on earth that he (always) does good and never sins.”39 Hence, “If your yeitzer hara vanquished you today and you used language that was forbidden. Tomorrow, stand up again, strengthen yourself and again do battle against the yeitzer hara and be triumphant over him. Even if G-d forbid, the yeitzer hara should again battle you and win, still, you must get back up and strengthen yourself to battle against him again and most certainly you will (eventually) be victorious. Anyone who seeks to sanctify himself will receive assistance from HaKadosh Baruch Hu to overcome his yeitzer hara40 and defeat him because Heaven will always help those who try to improve themselves.41
What’s the solution? In the end of the preface42 to Seifer Chofeitz Chayim, he states:
If you toil very much in the Torah’s words, HaKadosh Baruch Hu will remove the yeitzer hara from you.”43 I thought to myself that perhaps, if people study this seifer and seriously consider its contents – which have been compiled from all of the works of the Rishonim that deal with this subject – then the yeitzer hara will not as much power with regard to this sin.44 If one takes a small step toward refraining from this sin, then eventually he will able to refrain from it completely, for this sin is one that is governed to a large extent by habit. Indeed, Chazal say that one who seeks to improve himself is granted Heavenly assistance...45
With Hashem’s help, by taking the Chofeitz Chayim’s advice to guard our tongue; may we merit soon that our mouth will be filled with laughter and our tongue with glad song, upon Him bringing us back to Tzion!46
1. Shemiras HaLoshon-volume 2, chapter 1, “הגה"ה–כתיב במשלי ”.2
2. The Chofeitz Chayim says, “One who speaks loshonhora*or rechilus**loses the little Torah one has acquired” (Shemiras HaLoshon-volume I, Sha’ar HaZechirah, chapter 7, “בוא וראה עוד כמה”). In addition, “His prayers will not be elevated before HaKadosh Baruch Hu because he has been infected with a spirit of defilement…” (Zohar Parshas Metzorah, volume III 53a, Targum).
*Disparagingly of another person.
**Informing another person of the negative things that someone said about him or did to him, causing... ill feelings between the listener and the person spoken about or harm to the person spoken about.
3 The Gemara does say, “Torah study protects one from punishment and saves him from sinning”(Sotah21a. See also Shemiras HaLoshon, Sha’ar HaTorah, chapter 3 “בו יבאר” and “בוא וראה”. In addition, see Nefesh HaChayim 2:15, 4:2, 11, 13-17, 19, 22, 23, 25, 28, 30, 31, 32 and 33, where he elaborates on this subject).
Yet, “...Someone whose mouth is always open (talking) and does not take care (to guard what comes out of his mouth) -even if he learns all six orders of Mishnah and all of Shas several times over, when he arrives On High he will not find even one single Gemarathat will protect him because each one, each page of his Torah learning, has dragging behind it a spirit a repulsive force of impurity and defilement that hangs over it…” (Shemiras HaLoshon-volume II, Epilogue, chapter 1, “והנה אם האדם בזה”).4
4. Ibid. chapter 9,“ובאמת לפלא”.5
5. Devarim 27:24.6
6. See Shevuos 36a.7
7. Sotah 32a.8
8. Shemiras HaLoshon-volume II, chapter 10,“ואם היו שומעים”
9 Regarding peace, see Uktzin 3:12; Shoftim 6:24; Zohar, Parshas Vayikra 10b; Avos1:18; Berachos 8a; Sifra, Bechukosai 1:8 “שמא תאמרו” -link:http://bit.ly/1A3lizO; Rashi to Vayikra 26:6 “ונתתי שלום”; Mishlei17:1; Artscroll Bava Metzia 59a, note 30 and Gittin 59b.
10 Shemiras HaLoshon–volume 1, Sha’ar HaZechirah, chapter 11 “עוד יש מעלה”.11
11. See Shabbos 127a.12
12 See Yerushalmi, Pe’ah1:1.
13 Bereishis 2:7.1
14 Shemiras HaLoshon-volume I, Sha’ar HaZechirah, chapter 7, “והוא כעין מה שאמרו חז"ל”.15
15 Ibid. chapter 1.
16 The Yerushalmi explains that a person is incidentally punished for that sin in this world, but the worst part of his punishment will be reserved for him in Olam Haba (Shemiras HaLoshon –volume 1, Sha’ar HaZechirah, chapter 3 “עוד נוכל לומר”). Therefore, Hashem tells us, “If it is your desire to be protected from Gehinnom, then stay away from loshon hora and you will merit reward both in this world and in Olam Haba.” (See Shemiras HaLoshon–volume 1, Sha’ar HaZechirah, chapter 11 “גם הוא נצול על ידי” and Zachor L’Miryam, chapter 14, “איתא באגדתחז"ל”). As Mishlei states, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from trouble”(21:23).17
17 Imagine, Reuven needs to buy something and he has no cash or credit card on him. Shimon, his friend, lends him his credit card. Reuven buys what he needs. Then he thinks to himself, “I’m sure he won’t mind if I buy a few more things.” Reuven then decides to fulfill what it says in Avos(4:2), “One mitzvah leads to another mitzvah”. Basically, he buys one thing after the other, until Shimon’s credit card is maxed out. Reuven comes to Shimon and says to him, “I’m now in debt. Can you pay it off?”…
In the words of Rabbeinu Bachayei: “When we speak lashon hora about someone else, we take his sins upon ourselves and he takes our mitzvos!”[(Chovos HaLevavos, Sha’ar HaKniah, chapter 7 “והשלישי כשיתפרסם ענינו”. See The Power of Speech by Yehuda Cahn, pages 31-38, for explanation. Bear in mind, one who speaks lashon hora alone, transgresses 31 Torah prohibitions and gets 3 curses (see Seifer Chofeitz Chayim, Hilchos Issurei Loshon Hora, Mekor Chayim, Lavin and Asee’in). Now, he also acquires the other person’s sins. Any thinking and rational person should ask himself, “Is that really a good bargain?!”
There’s more. The Chofeitz Chayim says, “When a Jew speaks loshon hora against his fellow Jew and brings up complaints against him, he thereby brings about accusations in Heaven against the Jewish people and he empowers the Accuser indict the Jewish people.Thissin brings plague, swordand murderto the world. Woe to those who awaken this evil force, who do not guard their tongues and pay no heed to this! They do not realize that the ways of Heaven reflect the ways of the world, both for good and bad. [Through evil talk,] the Great Serpent Satan] is aroused to voice accusation against the world” [(see Zohar, Parshas Pekudei264b). See Shemiras HaLoshon –volume1, Sha’ar HaZechirah, chapter 2 “ואם מדבר לשון הרע”].
We know that,“There is nothing that stands in the way of Teshuvah”(MishnahBerurah128:129 and Rambam, Mishnah Torah, Hilchos Teshuvah3:14). Yet, the Zohar tells us, “With regard to everything, HaKadosh BaruchHu can eventually forgive a person* except for loshon hora.” [(See Shemiras HaLoshon–volume 1, Sha’ar HaZechirah, chapter 2“והנה כאשר נתבון” and Nefesh HaChayim 4:22). For an explanation of this, see ThePower of Speech by Yehudah Cahn, pages 34-35]. Regarding doing teshuva for loshon hora, see Seifer Chofeitz Chayim, Hilchos Issurei Loshon Hara, klal4, halachah12 and for rechilus, see Hilchos Issurei Rechilus, klal 4, halachah 3.
*However, sins committed against one’s fellow man are not atoned for on Yom Kippur unless he asks his fellow for forgiveness first (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch131:4. See also Orach Chayim 606; Yuma 87a-b and Mesillas Yesharim, chapter 11 “כלל של דבר”).
18. In his holy letter known as Aleem LeTerufah.
19 The Zohar says, “Whoever guards his speech will merit to be clothed in G-d’s Divine Spirit” [i.e. ruach hakodesh (Parshas Chukas 183)].
20 I.e. a lifetime of self-discipline. Elsewhere, the Vilna Gaon says, “The main way to merit Olam Haba is through guarding one’s tongue. This is more important than any Torah or good deeds he has”(Iggeres HaGra). Similarly, the Chidah says, “Whoever wants to get Olam Haba cheaply, guard your tongue from evil…” [(Maris H’Ayin to Avodah Zarah 19b) see the first page, second paragraph].
22 I.e. a weak light.
23 A much brighter light.
24 Shemiras HaLoshon–volume 1, Sha’ar HaTevunah, chapter 2 דקדקו חז”ל גם.
25 I.e. he does not respond at all to a provocation. For the Gemara (RoshHashanah17a) says, “When a person ignores insults, Heaven ignores his or her sins.” Rabbi Moshe Cordovero points out that it is far better to achieve atonement for a sin by suffering an insult in silence than to undergo physical punishment which may interfere with one’s ability to perform mitzvos or study Torah (Tomer Devorah, chapter 2. See also ThePower of Speech by Yehuda Cahn, page 226).
26 Ibid. Sha’ar HaZechirah, chapter 11 “גם עבור כל עת ששומר ”.27
27 See note 21 and Shemiras HaLoshon–volume1, Sha’ar HaZechirah,vchapters 10 and 11.28
28 I.e. emailing, texting, Facebooking, Twittering, Skyping, Blogging or Commenting on a website (http://bit.ly/14YbeM7).
29 See Hilchos Loshon Hora 1:8.
30 I.e. Facial expressions, body language, or any other means of insulting or belittling someone.
31 Hilchos Loshon Hora 3:3.
32 Ibid. 3:4. In addition, if one’s intention is merely to “make the truth known,” not to denigrate the subject, his words are still forbidden as loshon hora (Ibid. 5:1).
33 It’s also forbidden to speak loshon hora about a simple unlearned person and even worse it it’s spoken about a Torah scholar (Hilchos Loshon Hora, Mekor Chayim 4).
34 See Hilchos Loshon Hora 8:1-4; see also 12 and 13.
35 On Parshas Shelach.
36 See Rashi to Devarim 7:12 תשמעוןעקבוהיה”
37 Every person is granted a certain amount of words to speak during his lifetime, except for that which pertains to Torah and mitzvos. Thus, every person can add some years to his life by carefully choosing what to speak about (Derech Pekudechah,#34). The Zohar says, “Every word a man utters rises upward, splitting heavens to reach its destined place”[(Parshas Metzorah55a) see Yeshayahu 51:16]. Conversely, harmful talk creates a world of falsehood and brings about destruction in the high worlds. ‘Woe to those who see but do not understand what they see’”(Parshas Tzav31b). As Amos says, “He[i.e. Hashem] recounts to a person the words he spoke”(4:13).
38 Sefer Chofetz Chaim –English Translation, page 18 (Israel Bookshop Publications).
39 Koheles 7:20.
40 See Sukkah 52a and Chovos HaLevavos, Sha’ar Cheshbon HaNefesh 3:21“ועשריםוהאחד”.41
41 Shemiras HaLoshon–volume 1, Introduction, “כן דבר ממש”.42
42 Hakdamah L’Sefier Chofeitz Chayim, “גם לבד”
*regarding the damaging effects of loshon hora, see Life Insurance and Loshon Hora –
The above text on Lashon Hora was from a link within a comment to Tochacha for our Generation, and with permission of the commenter, included above is the explanation from his link. I’ve tried to be faithful to his layout and editing. Should a discrepancy appear, please notify me via a comment to this post.
**Needless to say, we lost the First and Second Bayis due to our sins. What will it take to wake up to the reality of what is happening in our world today. No leader of any country will save us. We must save ourselves, improve our ways and beg Hashem to save us before the 49th level.
***Middah Kneged Middah: ""there’s only the Divine will, with all else merely a distraction from the lessons we’re intended to draw that are truly relevant to our lives […] the things anti-Semites say and do are tools of instruction for us, often in uncannily corresponding ways […] they often have an unerring sense of who we Jews are and what we ought to be. And even when they don’t, Hashem uses them to achieve His ends, which are to return us to Him.” AND “They [the Jewish People] angered Me by believing in a non-god, and I will anger them by means of a non-nation.”(Devarim 32:21).
See also: The 72 Types of Afflictions; The Real Problem is Always Us; By the Rivers of Babylon(just because);
After compiling this post, this compilation of the extreme seriousness of the laws of Lashon Hara made me cringe. And so a word of caution is shared here to those who read and write blogs, foremost me.
And also a word (or a few) from Reb Dov bar Leib of End of Days blog:
"May I remind posters that while we always have to be careful about Motzi Shem Ra (slander) with regards to talking about anyone (Jews and non-Jews alike), we now have a new challenge now that Jared Kushner (a Jew) will be one of Donald Trump's top advisers. We also have to steer away from Lashon HaRa in addition to Motzi Shem Ra, that is bad things said about a person EVEN IF THEY ARE TRUE IF the information about him is not publicly known and therefore discoverable from multiple sources. If true information about a Jew is private info, we are not allowed to discuss that information about another Jew unless the public has to be warned about the dangers of doing business with him or about the general danger to the country that he is set to serve. Extraneous information about his private dealings EVEN IF THE INFORMATION IS TRUE is considered gossip and tale-bearing that is forbidden when talking about another Jew EVEN IF THE INFORMATION IS 100% TRUE! I know that avoiding Gossip and Tale-bearing is a daunting task when the person being talked about is in the public eye. We have a tendency in Western Culture to want to expose people who have vaunted positions to additional scrutiny when discussing the "facts" about their personal lives. So with a Jew though we have the additional burden of not speaking Gossip about him even if the "facts" are True. Again Not engaging in Slander when the information is False and Defamatory applies to every human being."
"By the way, the Laws against Lashon HaRa even if the information is TRUE also apply to righteous gentiles. Those laws Do NOT apply to speaking about non-Jewish Resha'im. Exposing the Truth about rashayim is of greater urgency than the desire to not gossip about them. But even if one is speaking about a Rasha, we only make claims about him which are True."