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Lashon Hara

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  • James Trimm
    Below is a paper about Lashon Hara ( I did not write it) LASHON HARA by Mikahael ben Moshe Who is the person who desires life and loves days that he may see
    Message 1 of 3 , May 2, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      Below is a paper about Lashon Hara ( I did not write it)


      LASHON HARA

      by Mikahael ben Moshe

      "Who is the person who desires life and loves days that he may see the
      good? Guard your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
      Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace, and pursue it."
      (Psalm 34:12-14).

      One of the most difficult sections of the Torah to understand is the
      discussion of "Tzarat," a skin disease commonly mis-translated as
      "leprosy." In truth, Tzarat is a physical manifestation of a spiritual
      deficiency. The Talmud (Arachin 16) says that Tzarat comes specifically
      as a consequence of "lashon hara" - negative speech about another person.
      We see a solemn story of the dangers of saying something out of turn in the
      Haftarah. In this story, we see that it can even lead to bloodshed. It is
      recorded in the latter half of Leviticus 19:16 that "you shall not stand
      aside while your fellow's blood is shed." The story of Doeg the Edomite (I
      Samuel 21-22) is often used to illustrate the harm that can be done by tale
      bearing. Doeg saw Achimelekh the priest give David bread and a sword, a
      completely innocent act intended to aid a leader of King Saul's court. Doeg
      reported this to Saul. Doeg's story was completely true, not negative, not
      secret, and Achimelekh would have told Saul exactly the same thing if asked
      (which he did later). Yet Saul misinterpreted this tale as proof that
      Achimelekh was supporting David in a rebellion, and proceeded to slaughter
      all but one of the priests at Nob. We also recall the story in Numbers 12
      where Miriam was stricken with Tzarat (leprosy) for having spoken ill of
      her brother Moses, even though what she said about him was true What's the
      connection between speaking badly - gossiping about another, and
      contracting this skin disease?


      TO BUILD OR TO DESTROY

      Speech is the tool of creation - through it we can build individuals and
      the world. We can praise, encourage, and give others confidence. Ancient
      Biblical Judaism, (the setting of the earliest Church) was acutely aware of
      the power of speech and of the harm that can be done through speech. The
      early sages and Rabbis note that the universe itself was created through
      words. Bereshit 1, ìand YHWH said, let there be light . . . and YHWH said,
      let there be a firmament, and YHWH said, let there be water in the midst of
      it, and YHWH said, let the earth bring forth grass and herbs, etc.î The
      Ruach Ha Kodesh teaches us in the Brit Chadisha a parallel of this Torah
      truth as we see the examples of the fig tree that was cursed by the words
      of YAHshua and it withered and died. ìIt is not what goes into the mouth
      that defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.î
      Matthew 15:11. In addition, we read in the Gospel of Mark 11:23-24 that
      there is power in our words that are significant enough to even move
      mountains. We are all familiar with the warnings afforded by James, the
      half brother of YAHshua when he tells us that ìthe tongue is a fire, a
      world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles
      the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on
      fire by hell . . . no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full
      of deadly poison. With it we bless our YHWH and Father, and with it we
      curse men who have been made in the image of YHWH. Out of the same mouth
      proceeds blessing and cursing. . . these things ought not to be so.î James
      3:6-10. The words that we speak can create peace, harmony, joy and unity,
      or conversely, can create jealousy, anger, hatred, resentment, violence and
      even murder.

      The Talmud tells us that the tongue is an instrument so dangerous that it
      must be kept hidden from view, behind two protective walls (the mouth and
      teeth) to prevent its misuse. It also teaches that the harm done by lashon
      hara is even worse than the harm done by stealing or by cheating someone
      financially, because amends can be made for monetary harms, but the harm
      done by an evil tongue can never be repaired.

      By making others feel important, we build them up, as if to say, "Your
      existence is necessary." This is life giving and life- affirming. One of
      the great American rabbis of the past generation, Rabbi Shlomo Freifeld,
      was known to have brought a neighbor back to YHWH and to Torah observance
      simply by caring enough to say "good morning." On the other hand, speech
      can also be used to destroy. Words like "you're worthless" wipes out a
      person's self-esteem. As King Solomon says, "Life and death are in the
      power of the tongue, and those who love it (lashon hara) will eat itís
      fruit." (Proverbs 18:21). The Talmud (Arachin 15b) explains that negative
      speech is even worse than a sword - since it kills many people, even at
      great distance.

      From here we can understand a section of the Torah portion, Tazriah, found
      in Leviticus 13:45-46. The Torah says that when someone has been diagnosed
      as having Tzarat, they must go outside the boundaries of the city and shout
      "Contaminated, Unclean!" to warn anyone who approaches. The punishment is
      measure-for-measure: If you promote divisiveness amongst others, then you
      will suffer divisiveness yourself.


      LASHON HARA- IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE

      A Chasidic tale illustrates the point: A man went about the community
      telling malicious lies about his Rabbi. Later, he realized the wrong he had
      done, and began to feel remorse. He went to the Rabbi and begged his
      forgiveness, saying he would do anything he could to make amends. The Rabbi
      told the man, "Take a feather pillow, cut it open, and scatter the feathers
      to the winds." The man thought this was a strange request, but it was a
      simple enough task, and he did it gladly. When he returned to tell the
      Rabbi that he had done it, the Rabbi said, "Now, go and gather the
      feathers. Because you can no more make amends for the damage your words
      have done than you can recollect the feathers." Evil speaking of another
      has been compared to an arrow that once released cannot be stopped or
      recalled. Likewise, the words spoken once released cannot be stopped from
      harming their intended target . . . the character and soul of another. The
      person who listens to gossip is sometimes viewed even worse than the person
      who tells the story, because no harm could be done by gossip if no one
      listened to it. It has been said that lashon hara (an evil tongue and
      speech) kills three people: the person who speaks it, the person who hears
      it, and the person about whom it is told.


      VIOLATIONS OF TORAH

      There are 31 commandments that relate to lashon hara in the Torah. Two in
      particular will be considered here. These mitzvoth specifically address
      inappropriate speech or gossiping about another: ìThou shall not go up and
      down as a talebearer among thy peopleî Leviticus 19:16. Leviticus 25:17
      says, "You shall not wrong one another." This has traditionally been
      interpreted as wronging a person with speech. It includes any statement
      that will embarrass, insult or deceive a person, or cause a person
      emotional pain or distress. The Chofetz Chayim, Israel Meyer Kagan wrote
      several books about lashon hara which all go into great detail. The basics
      of the laws are these:

      You are not to say derogatory things
      about anyone whether they are true or not.

      You are not to imply derogatory things about anyone.

      You are not to listen to derogatory things about anyone,
      and if you do, you're not to believe it.

      To violate these Torah instructions is to become one who is known as
      having an ìevil tongue,î or one who commits lashon hara. Tale bearing is,
      essentially, any gossip. The Hebrew word for talebearer is "rakheel"
      (Resh-Kaf-Yod-Lamed), which is related to a word meaning trader or
      merchant. The idea is that a talebearer is like a merchant whose
      merchandise is gossip or tale bearing. Some other terms that bring more
      understanding to the solemnity of this subject are avak rechilut or the
      dust of gossip and avak lashon hara, the dust of an evil tongue. Sometimes
      a violation of Torah can be committed in lashon hara, without even saying
      anything specific about another. The ìdustî of lashon hara could be a
      statement that you may make such as ìwell, so-and-so said something about
      you, but I wonít tell you because that would be wrong,î or ìdid you read
      their latest book? Well, I suggest that you do, and draw your own
      conclusion regarding how really sound they are.î The worst offense is motzi
      shem ra, or purposely spreading a bad name or lie about another, with the
      intention of bringing injury.

      We who are attempting to walk in obedience to Torah must correct our
      speech, change our habits, and learn to walk circumspectly before YHWH and
      men. Western Christianity has evolved into a system that strongly preaches
      what one ìbelieves,î but that belief system is not necessarily expressed in
      everyday living. Early Biblical Judaism is contrary to this life style. It
      is not what one believed that was preached, but rather, how he lives. The
      words that proceed from his mouth show his belief system.


      LIMITS OF LASHON HARA

      Many people make the mistake of thinking that the prohibition of lashon
      hara - negative speech - is limited only to saying falsity and untruth. But
      this is not so. Lying falls under a separate prohibition, expressed in
      Exodus 20:13, 23:7. Lashon hara is the prohibition against saying
      anything negative or derogatory about another person - even when it's true!
      Often, lashon hara will couch itself in a cloak of rationalizations. It
      doesn't even matter whether the words are spoken implicitly or implied. If
      the message can be construed negatively, then it is a violation of lashon
      hara. Be aware of potential lashon hara situations and stop them before
      they start.


      WHY DO PEOPLE GOSSIP?

      What would motivate one person to speak badly about another? Low
      self-esteem. When a person feels down about themselves, there are two ways
      to feel better - either 1) make the effort to work and build oneself up
      (this is a lot of hard work!), or 2) put others down. (The reasoning being,
      if I can lower others, then I don't look so bad by comparison!) That's the
      easy way, the "quick high." But is that the kind of person you want to be?

      The first step in avoiding lashon hara is to recognize our own faults and
      commit to improving on them. When I accept that I alone am responsible for
      my inadequacies, then I will similarly be less critical and more tolerant
      of others. If you find yourself getting "down" about yourself or others,
      try focusing away from the faults and instead on the virtues. It will lift
      you out of your negativity. The Torah says: Don't take the easy way out.
      Feeling down? Work hard and improve yourself.


      JUDGE OTHERS FAVORABLY

      So what happens if we inadvertently hear lashon hara? The Talmud says that
      we should not automatically accept it as being true. Rather, the rule is
      "innocent until proven guilty." There is a famous story about the great
      Talmudic sage the Rashash (Rabbi Shmuel Shtrashun, 19th century Vilna) who
      had a fund to lend money to poor people. One day while the rabbi was
      studying Talmud; a man came in to repay his loan of 10,000 rubles. The
      rabbi was so engrossed in his learning that he stuck the money in the book
      and forgot about it. A week later, the rabbi was reviewing his loan ledger
      and noticed that the 10,000 ruble loan was never paid. So he called the man
      and asked him to pay it. "But I paid you back last week," said the man.
      "Okay, then where's your receipt," said the rabbi, who truly had no
      recollection of being paid back. "You were studying and I didn't want to
      disturb you," replied the man. Soon enough word got out that the poor man
      and the rabbi were involved in a financial dispute. "The nerve of this man
      to pit his word against the rabbi!" they all said. The man's reputation was
      ruined, and the community shunned him. About a year later, the rabbi was
      reviewing a section of Talmud and came across an envelope containing 10,000
      rubles. Then he realized what had happened! He immediately called the man
      and apologized. "But your apology doesn't help me," said the man, sadly.
      "My reputation is ruined forever!" "Don't worry," said the rabbi. "I'll
      make a public announcement in the synagogue, letting everyone know that it
      was I who had made the mistake." "But that won't help," said the man.
      "They'll think you're just saying it because you feel sorry for me." The
      rabbi thought long and hard until he came up with a solution. "You have a
      daughter and I have a son," he said. "Let's arrange for them to be married.
      In that way, everyone will be assured that you are fully trustworthy, for
      otherwise I would never have suggested this match." And with that, the harm
      was repaired. But it's not always so easy...


      SPEECH AND THE PROCESS OF REDEMPTION

      The Talmud asks: Why was the Holy Temple destroyed? Because people spoke
      lashon hara about each other. Thus, says the Chofetz Chayim (the 20th
      century codified the laws of lashon hara), refraining from gossip is the
      single most effective way to reverse the damage and bring about the
      redemption! Why is it that YHWH is so concerned about this? In the big
      picture of the universe, what harm does it do? It violates the purposes of
      Torah and YHWHís plan for man. Maimonides said that the ìOrdinances of the
      Torah are not a burden, but a means of ensuring mercy, kindness, and peace
      in the world.î Lashon hara destroys the harmony of YHWHís plan for the
      world. ìAnd YAHshua spoke to them, saying, ëWoe to you, scribes and
      Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithes of mint and anise and cumin, and
      have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy and faith.
      These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.íî Matthew
      23:23. ìWhat does Adonai require of you? But to do justly, to love mercy,
      and to walk humbly with your YHWH?î Micah 6:8.
      Most who are taking hold of the faith of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and
      Jacob, will find that they can be very successful in regard to the Shabbat,
      kosher eating, and the starting places of a walk in Torah as described in
      Acts 15: 28-29. One of the most commonly violated segments of Torah, and
      perhaps the most difficult to gain mastery in, are the laws regarding
      lashon hara or, an ìevil tongue.î This is a very important area of Torah;
      few men master this Yetzer Hara (evil inclination). Disharmony will remain,
      and the full light of YHWH cannot be found in this life without mastery
      over lashon hara, an evil and gossiping tongue. There is no better time to
      undertake this challenge than today. We find ourselves in the season of
      redemption. Pesach celebrates our emergence from slavery unto freedom. And
      we are now counting the Omer, on the way toward receiving the Torah at
      Mount Sinai. Now is the time to break the dissention and divisiveness that
      plagues our people.





      NEW MESSIANIC TRANSLATION:
      THE HEBRAIC ROOTS VERSION
      http://www.nazarene.net/hrv
    • James Trimm
      Below is a paper about Lashon Hara ( I did not write it) LASHON HARA by Mikahael ben Moshe Who is the person who desires life and loves days that he may see
      Message 2 of 3 , May 2, 2001
      • 0 Attachment
        Below is a paper about Lashon Hara ( I did not write it)


        LASHON HARA

        by Mikahael ben Moshe

        "Who is the person who desires life and loves days that he may see the
        good? Guard your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
        Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace, and pursue it."
        (Psalm 34:12-14).

        One of the most difficult sections of the Torah to understand is the
        discussion of "Tzarat," a skin disease commonly mis-translated as
        "leprosy." In truth, Tzarat is a physical manifestation of a spiritual
        deficiency. The Talmud (Arachin 16) says that Tzarat comes specifically
        as a consequence of "lashon hara" - negative speech about another person.
        We see a solemn story of the dangers of saying something out of turn in the
        Haftarah. In this story, we see that it can even lead to bloodshed. It is
        recorded in the latter half of Leviticus 19:16 that "you shall not stand
        aside while your fellow's blood is shed." The story of Doeg the Edomite (I
        Samuel 21-22) is often used to illustrate the harm that can be done by tale
        bearing. Doeg saw Achimelekh the priest give David bread and a sword, a
        completely innocent act intended to aid a leader of King Saul's court. Doeg
        reported this to Saul. Doeg's story was completely true, not negative, not
        secret, and Achimelekh would have told Saul exactly the same thing if asked
        (which he did later). Yet Saul misinterpreted this tale as proof that
        Achimelekh was supporting David in a rebellion, and proceeded to slaughter
        all but one of the priests at Nob. We also recall the story in Numbers 12
        where Miriam was stricken with Tzarat (leprosy) for having spoken ill of
        her brother Moses, even though what she said about him was true What's the
        connection between speaking badly - gossiping about another, and
        contracting this skin disease?


        TO BUILD OR TO DESTROY

        Speech is the tool of creation - through it we can build individuals and
        the world. We can praise, encourage, and give others confidence. Ancient
        Biblical Judaism, (the setting of the earliest Church) was acutely aware of
        the power of speech and of the harm that can be done through speech. The
        early sages and Rabbis note that the universe itself was created through
        words. Bereshit 1, ìand YHWH said, let there be light . . . and YHWH said,
        let there be a firmament, and YHWH said, let there be water in the midst of
        it, and YHWH said, let the earth bring forth grass and herbs, etc.î The
        Ruach Ha Kodesh teaches us in the Brit Chadisha a parallel of this Torah
        truth as we see the examples of the fig tree that was cursed by the words
        of YAHshua and it withered and died. ìIt is not what goes into the mouth
        that defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.î
        Matthew 15:11. In addition, we read in the Gospel of Mark 11:23-24 that
        there is power in our words that are significant enough to even move
        mountains. We are all familiar with the warnings afforded by James, the
        half brother of YAHshua when he tells us that ìthe tongue is a fire, a
        world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles
        the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on
        fire by hell . . . no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full
        of deadly poison. With it we bless our YHWH and Father, and with it we
        curse men who have been made in the image of YHWH. Out of the same mouth
        proceeds blessing and cursing. . . these things ought not to be so.î James
        3:6-10. The words that we speak can create peace, harmony, joy and unity,
        or conversely, can create jealousy, anger, hatred, resentment, violence and
        even murder.

        The Talmud tells us that the tongue is an instrument so dangerous that it
        must be kept hidden from view, behind two protective walls (the mouth and
        teeth) to prevent its misuse. It also teaches that the harm done by lashon
        hara is even worse than the harm done by stealing or by cheating someone
        financially, because amends can be made for monetary harms, but the harm
        done by an evil tongue can never be repaired.

        By making others feel important, we build them up, as if to say, "Your
        existence is necessary." This is life giving and life- affirming. One of
        the great American rabbis of the past generation, Rabbi Shlomo Freifeld,
        was known to have brought a neighbor back to YHWH and to Torah observance
        simply by caring enough to say "good morning." On the other hand, speech
        can also be used to destroy. Words like "you're worthless" wipes out a
        person's self-esteem. As King Solomon says, "Life and death are in the
        power of the tongue, and those who love it (lashon hara) will eat itís
        fruit." (Proverbs 18:21). The Talmud (Arachin 15b) explains that negative
        speech is even worse than a sword - since it kills many people, even at
        great distance.

        From here we can understand a section of the Torah portion, Tazriah, found
        in Leviticus 13:45-46. The Torah says that when someone has been diagnosed
        as having Tzarat, they must go outside the boundaries of the city and shout
        "Contaminated, Unclean!" to warn anyone who approaches. The punishment is
        measure-for-measure: If you promote divisiveness amongst others, then you
        will suffer divisiveness yourself.


        LASHON HARA- IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE

        A Chasidic tale illustrates the point: A man went about the community
        telling malicious lies about his Rabbi. Later, he realized the wrong he had
        done, and began to feel remorse. He went to the Rabbi and begged his
        forgiveness, saying he would do anything he could to make amends. The Rabbi
        told the man, "Take a feather pillow, cut it open, and scatter the feathers
        to the winds." The man thought this was a strange request, but it was a
        simple enough task, and he did it gladly. When he returned to tell the
        Rabbi that he had done it, the Rabbi said, "Now, go and gather the
        feathers. Because you can no more make amends for the damage your words
        have done than you can recollect the feathers." Evil speaking of another
        has been compared to an arrow that once released cannot be stopped or
        recalled. Likewise, the words spoken once released cannot be stopped from
        harming their intended target . . . the character and soul of another. The
        person who listens to gossip is sometimes viewed even worse than the person
        who tells the story, because no harm could be done by gossip if no one
        listened to it. It has been said that lashon hara (an evil tongue and
        speech) kills three people: the person who speaks it, the person who hears
        it, and the person about whom it is told.


        VIOLATIONS OF TORAH

        There are 31 commandments that relate to lashon hara in the Torah. Two in
        particular will be considered here. These mitzvoth specifically address
        inappropriate speech or gossiping about another: ìThou shall not go up and
        down as a talebearer among thy peopleî Leviticus 19:16. Leviticus 25:17
        says, "You shall not wrong one another." This has traditionally been
        interpreted as wronging a person with speech. It includes any statement
        that will embarrass, insult or deceive a person, or cause a person
        emotional pain or distress. The Chofetz Chayim, Israel Meyer Kagan wrote
        several books about lashon hara which all go into great detail. The basics
        of the laws are these:

        You are not to say derogatory things
        about anyone whether they are true or not.

        You are not to imply derogatory things about anyone.

        You are not to listen to derogatory things about anyone,
        and if you do, you're not to believe it.

        To violate these Torah instructions is to become one who is known as
        having an ìevil tongue,î or one who commits lashon hara. Tale bearing is,
        essentially, any gossip. The Hebrew word for talebearer is "rakheel"
        (Resh-Kaf-Yod-Lamed), which is related to a word meaning trader or
        merchant. The idea is that a talebearer is like a merchant whose
        merchandise is gossip or tale bearing. Some other terms that bring more
        understanding to the solemnity of this subject are avak rechilut or the
        dust of gossip and avak lashon hara, the dust of an evil tongue. Sometimes
        a violation of Torah can be committed in lashon hara, without even saying
        anything specific about another. The ìdustî of lashon hara could be a
        statement that you may make such as ìwell, so-and-so said something about
        you, but I wonít tell you because that would be wrong,î or ìdid you read
        their latest book? Well, I suggest that you do, and draw your own
        conclusion regarding how really sound they are.î The worst offense is motzi
        shem ra, or purposely spreading a bad name or lie about another, with the
        intention of bringing injury.

        We who are attempting to walk in obedience to Torah must correct our
        speech, change our habits, and learn to walk circumspectly before YHWH and
        men. Western Christianity has evolved into a system that strongly preaches
        what one ìbelieves,î but that belief system is not necessarily expressed in
        everyday living. Early Biblical Judaism is contrary to this life style. It
        is not what one believed that was preached, but rather, how he lives. The
        words that proceed from his mouth show his belief system.


        LIMITS OF LASHON HARA

        Many people make the mistake of thinking that the prohibition of lashon
        hara - negative speech - is limited only to saying falsity and untruth. But
        this is not so. Lying falls under a separate prohibition, expressed in
        Exodus 20:13, 23:7. Lashon hara is the prohibition against saying
        anything negative or derogatory about another person - even when it's true!
        Often, lashon hara will couch itself in a cloak of rationalizations. It
        doesn't even matter whether the words are spoken implicitly or implied. If
        the message can be construed negatively, then it is a violation of lashon
        hara. Be aware of potential lashon hara situations and stop them before
        they start.


        WHY DO PEOPLE GOSSIP?

        What would motivate one person to speak badly about another? Low
        self-esteem. When a person feels down about themselves, there are two ways
        to feel better - either 1) make the effort to work and build oneself up
        (this is a lot of hard work!), or 2) put others down. (The reasoning being,
        if I can lower others, then I don't look so bad by comparison!) That's the
        easy way, the "quick high." But is that the kind of person you want to be?

        The first step in avoiding lashon hara is to recognize our own faults and
        commit to improving on them. When I accept that I alone am responsible for
        my inadequacies, then I will similarly be less critical and more tolerant
        of others. If you find yourself getting "down" about yourself or others,
        try focusing away from the faults and instead on the virtues. It will lift
        you out of your negativity. The Torah says: Don't take the easy way out.
        Feeling down? Work hard and improve yourself.


        JUDGE OTHERS FAVORABLY

        So what happens if we inadvertently hear lashon hara? The Talmud says that
        we should not automatically accept it as being true. Rather, the rule is
        "innocent until proven guilty." There is a famous story about the great
        Talmudic sage the Rashash (Rabbi Shmuel Shtrashun, 19th century Vilna) who
        had a fund to lend money to poor people. One day while the rabbi was
        studying Talmud; a man came in to repay his loan of 10,000 rubles. The
        rabbi was so engrossed in his learning that he stuck the money in the book
        and forgot about it. A week later, the rabbi was reviewing his loan ledger
        and noticed that the 10,000 ruble loan was never paid. So he called the man
        and asked him to pay it. "But I paid you back last week," said the man.
        "Okay, then where's your receipt," said the rabbi, who truly had no
        recollection of being paid back. "You were studying and I didn't want to
        disturb you," replied the man. Soon enough word got out that the poor man
        and the rabbi were involved in a financial dispute. "The nerve of this man
        to pit his word against the rabbi!" they all said. The man's reputation was
        ruined, and the community shunned him. About a year later, the rabbi was
        reviewing a section of Talmud and came across an envelope containing 10,000
        rubles. Then he realized what had happened! He immediately called the man
        and apologized. "But your apology doesn't help me," said the man, sadly.
        "My reputation is ruined forever!" "Don't worry," said the rabbi. "I'll
        make a public announcement in the synagogue, letting everyone know that it
        was I who had made the mistake." "But that won't help," said the man.
        "They'll think you're just saying it because you feel sorry for me." The
        rabbi thought long and hard until he came up with a solution. "You have a
        daughter and I have a son," he said. "Let's arrange for them to be married.
        In that way, everyone will be assured that you are fully trustworthy, for
        otherwise I would never have suggested this match." And with that, the harm
        was repaired. But it's not always so easy...


        SPEECH AND THE PROCESS OF REDEMPTION

        The Talmud asks: Why was the Holy Temple destroyed? Because people spoke
        lashon hara about each other. Thus, says the Chofetz Chayim (the 20th
        century codified the laws of lashon hara), refraining from gossip is the
        single most effective way to reverse the damage and bring about the
        redemption! Why is it that YHWH is so concerned about this? In the big
        picture of the universe, what harm does it do? It violates the purposes of
        Torah and YHWHís plan for man. Maimonides said that the ìOrdinances of the
        Torah are not a burden, but a means of ensuring mercy, kindness, and peace
        in the world.î Lashon hara destroys the harmony of YHWHís plan for the
        world. ìAnd YAHshua spoke to them, saying, ëWoe to you, scribes and
        Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithes of mint and anise and cumin, and
        have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy and faith.
        These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.íî Matthew
        23:23. ìWhat does Adonai require of you? But to do justly, to love mercy,
        and to walk humbly with your YHWH?î Micah 6:8.
        Most who are taking hold of the faith of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and
        Jacob, will find that they can be very successful in regard to the Shabbat,
        kosher eating, and the starting places of a walk in Torah as described in
        Acts 15: 28-29. One of the most commonly violated segments of Torah, and
        perhaps the most difficult to gain mastery in, are the laws regarding
        lashon hara or, an ìevil tongue.î This is a very important area of Torah;
        few men master this Yetzer Hara (evil inclination). Disharmony will remain,
        and the full light of YHWH cannot be found in this life without mastery
        over lashon hara, an evil and gossiping tongue. There is no better time to
        undertake this challenge than today. We find ourselves in the season of
        redemption. Pesach celebrates our emergence from slavery unto freedom. And
        we are now counting the Omer, on the way toward receiving the Torah at
        Mount Sinai. Now is the time to break the dissention and divisiveness that
        plagues our people.





        NEW MESSIANIC TRANSLATION:
        THE HEBRAIC ROOTS VERSION
        http://www.nazarene.net/hrv
      • James Trimm
        Below is a paper about Lashon Hara ( I did not write it) LASHON HARA by Mikahael ben Moshe Who is the person who desires life and loves days that he may see
        Message 3 of 3 , May 2, 2001
        • 0 Attachment
          Below is a paper about Lashon Hara ( I did not write it)


          LASHON HARA

          by Mikahael ben Moshe

          "Who is the person who desires life and loves days that he may see the
          good? Guard your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
          Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace, and pursue it."
          (Psalm 34:12-14).

          One of the most difficult sections of the Torah to understand is the
          discussion of "Tzarat," a skin disease commonly mis-translated as
          "leprosy." In truth, Tzarat is a physical manifestation of a spiritual
          deficiency. The Talmud (Arachin 16) says that Tzarat comes specifically
          as a consequence of "lashon hara" - negative speech about another person.
          We see a solemn story of the dangers of saying something out of turn in the
          Haftarah. In this story, we see that it can even lead to bloodshed. It is
          recorded in the latter half of Leviticus 19:16 that "you shall not stand
          aside while your fellow's blood is shed." The story of Doeg the Edomite (I
          Samuel 21-22) is often used to illustrate the harm that can be done by tale
          bearing. Doeg saw Achimelekh the priest give David bread and a sword, a
          completely innocent act intended to aid a leader of King Saul's court. Doeg
          reported this to Saul. Doeg's story was completely true, not negative, not
          secret, and Achimelekh would have told Saul exactly the same thing if asked
          (which he did later). Yet Saul misinterpreted this tale as proof that
          Achimelekh was supporting David in a rebellion, and proceeded to slaughter
          all but one of the priests at Nob. We also recall the story in Numbers 12
          where Miriam was stricken with Tzarat (leprosy) for having spoken ill of
          her brother Moses, even though what she said about him was true What's the
          connection between speaking badly - gossiping about another, and
          contracting this skin disease?


          TO BUILD OR TO DESTROY

          Speech is the tool of creation - through it we can build individuals and
          the world. We can praise, encourage, and give others confidence. Ancient
          Biblical Judaism, (the setting of the earliest Church) was acutely aware of
          the power of speech and of the harm that can be done through speech. The
          early sages and Rabbis note that the universe itself was created through
          words. Bereshit 1, ìand YHWH said, let there be light . . . and YHWH said,
          let there be a firmament, and YHWH said, let there be water in the midst of
          it, and YHWH said, let the earth bring forth grass and herbs, etc.î The
          Ruach Ha Kodesh teaches us in the Brit Chadisha a parallel of this Torah
          truth as we see the examples of the fig tree that was cursed by the words
          of YAHshua and it withered and died. ìIt is not what goes into the mouth
          that defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.î
          Matthew 15:11. In addition, we read in the Gospel of Mark 11:23-24 that
          there is power in our words that are significant enough to even move
          mountains. We are all familiar with the warnings afforded by James, the
          half brother of YAHshua when he tells us that ìthe tongue is a fire, a
          world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles
          the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on
          fire by hell . . . no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full
          of deadly poison. With it we bless our YHWH and Father, and with it we
          curse men who have been made in the image of YHWH. Out of the same mouth
          proceeds blessing and cursing. . . these things ought not to be so.î James
          3:6-10. The words that we speak can create peace, harmony, joy and unity,
          or conversely, can create jealousy, anger, hatred, resentment, violence and
          even murder.

          The Talmud tells us that the tongue is an instrument so dangerous that it
          must be kept hidden from view, behind two protective walls (the mouth and
          teeth) to prevent its misuse. It also teaches that the harm done by lashon
          hara is even worse than the harm done by stealing or by cheating someone
          financially, because amends can be made for monetary harms, but the harm
          done by an evil tongue can never be repaired.

          By making others feel important, we build them up, as if to say, "Your
          existence is necessary." This is life giving and life- affirming. One of
          the great American rabbis of the past generation, Rabbi Shlomo Freifeld,
          was known to have brought a neighbor back to YHWH and to Torah observance
          simply by caring enough to say "good morning." On the other hand, speech
          can also be used to destroy. Words like "you're worthless" wipes out a
          person's self-esteem. As King Solomon says, "Life and death are in the
          power of the tongue, and those who love it (lashon hara) will eat itís
          fruit." (Proverbs 18:21). The Talmud (Arachin 15b) explains that negative
          speech is even worse than a sword - since it kills many people, even at
          great distance.

          From here we can understand a section of the Torah portion, Tazriah, found
          in Leviticus 13:45-46. The Torah says that when someone has been diagnosed
          as having Tzarat, they must go outside the boundaries of the city and shout
          "Contaminated, Unclean!" to warn anyone who approaches. The punishment is
          measure-for-measure: If you promote divisiveness amongst others, then you
          will suffer divisiveness yourself.


          LASHON HARA- IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE

          A Chasidic tale illustrates the point: A man went about the community
          telling malicious lies about his Rabbi. Later, he realized the wrong he had
          done, and began to feel remorse. He went to the Rabbi and begged his
          forgiveness, saying he would do anything he could to make amends. The Rabbi
          told the man, "Take a feather pillow, cut it open, and scatter the feathers
          to the winds." The man thought this was a strange request, but it was a
          simple enough task, and he did it gladly. When he returned to tell the
          Rabbi that he had done it, the Rabbi said, "Now, go and gather the
          feathers. Because you can no more make amends for the damage your words
          have done than you can recollect the feathers." Evil speaking of another
          has been compared to an arrow that once released cannot be stopped or
          recalled. Likewise, the words spoken once released cannot be stopped from
          harming their intended target . . . the character and soul of another. The
          person who listens to gossip is sometimes viewed even worse than the person
          who tells the story, because no harm could be done by gossip if no one
          listened to it. It has been said that lashon hara (an evil tongue and
          speech) kills three people: the person who speaks it, the person who hears
          it, and the person about whom it is told.


          VIOLATIONS OF TORAH

          There are 31 commandments that relate to lashon hara in the Torah. Two in
          particular will be considered here. These mitzvoth specifically address
          inappropriate speech or gossiping about another: ìThou shall not go up and
          down as a talebearer among thy peopleî Leviticus 19:16. Leviticus 25:17
          says, "You shall not wrong one another." This has traditionally been
          interpreted as wronging a person with speech. It includes any statement
          that will embarrass, insult or deceive a person, or cause a person
          emotional pain or distress. The Chofetz Chayim, Israel Meyer Kagan wrote
          several books about lashon hara which all go into great detail. The basics
          of the laws are these:

          You are not to say derogatory things
          about anyone whether they are true or not.

          You are not to imply derogatory things about anyone.

          You are not to listen to derogatory things about anyone,
          and if you do, you're not to believe it.

          To violate these Torah instructions is to become one who is known as
          having an ìevil tongue,î or one who commits lashon hara. Tale bearing is,
          essentially, any gossip. The Hebrew word for talebearer is "rakheel"
          (Resh-Kaf-Yod-Lamed), which is related to a word meaning trader or
          merchant. The idea is that a talebearer is like a merchant whose
          merchandise is gossip or tale bearing. Some other terms that bring more
          understanding to the solemnity of this subject are avak rechilut or the
          dust of gossip and avak lashon hara, the dust of an evil tongue. Sometimes
          a violation of Torah can be committed in lashon hara, without even saying
          anything specific about another. The ìdustî of lashon hara could be a
          statement that you may make such as ìwell, so-and-so said something about
          you, but I wonít tell you because that would be wrong,î or ìdid you read
          their latest book? Well, I suggest that you do, and draw your own
          conclusion regarding how really sound they are.î The worst offense is motzi
          shem ra, or purposely spreading a bad name or lie about another, with the
          intention of bringing injury.

          We who are attempting to walk in obedience to Torah must correct our
          speech, change our habits, and learn to walk circumspectly before YHWH and
          men. Western Christianity has evolved into a system that strongly preaches
          what one ìbelieves,î but that belief system is not necessarily expressed in
          everyday living. Early Biblical Judaism is contrary to this life style. It
          is not what one believed that was preached, but rather, how he lives. The
          words that proceed from his mouth show his belief system.


          LIMITS OF LASHON HARA

          Many people make the mistake of thinking that the prohibition of lashon
          hara - negative speech - is limited only to saying falsity and untruth. But
          this is not so. Lying falls under a separate prohibition, expressed in
          Exodus 20:13, 23:7. Lashon hara is the prohibition against saying
          anything negative or derogatory about another person - even when it's true!
          Often, lashon hara will couch itself in a cloak of rationalizations. It
          doesn't even matter whether the words are spoken implicitly or implied. If
          the message can be construed negatively, then it is a violation of lashon
          hara. Be aware of potential lashon hara situations and stop them before
          they start.


          WHY DO PEOPLE GOSSIP?

          What would motivate one person to speak badly about another? Low
          self-esteem. When a person feels down about themselves, there are two ways
          to feel better - either 1) make the effort to work and build oneself up
          (this is a lot of hard work!), or 2) put others down. (The reasoning being,
          if I can lower others, then I don't look so bad by comparison!) That's the
          easy way, the "quick high." But is that the kind of person you want to be?

          The first step in avoiding lashon hara is to recognize our own faults and
          commit to improving on them. When I accept that I alone am responsible for
          my inadequacies, then I will similarly be less critical and more tolerant
          of others. If you find yourself getting "down" about yourself or others,
          try focusing away from the faults and instead on the virtues. It will lift
          you out of your negativity. The Torah says: Don't take the easy way out.
          Feeling down? Work hard and improve yourself.


          JUDGE OTHERS FAVORABLY

          So what happens if we inadvertently hear lashon hara? The Talmud says that
          we should not automatically accept it as being true. Rather, the rule is
          "innocent until proven guilty." There is a famous story about the great
          Talmudic sage the Rashash (Rabbi Shmuel Shtrashun, 19th century Vilna) who
          had a fund to lend money to poor people. One day while the rabbi was
          studying Talmud; a man came in to repay his loan of 10,000 rubles. The
          rabbi was so engrossed in his learning that he stuck the money in the book
          and forgot about it. A week later, the rabbi was reviewing his loan ledger
          and noticed that the 10,000 ruble loan was never paid. So he called the man
          and asked him to pay it. "But I paid you back last week," said the man.
          "Okay, then where's your receipt," said the rabbi, who truly had no
          recollection of being paid back. "You were studying and I didn't want to
          disturb you," replied the man. Soon enough word got out that the poor man
          and the rabbi were involved in a financial dispute. "The nerve of this man
          to pit his word against the rabbi!" they all said. The man's reputation was
          ruined, and the community shunned him. About a year later, the rabbi was
          reviewing a section of Talmud and came across an envelope containing 10,000
          rubles. Then he realized what had happened! He immediately called the man
          and apologized. "But your apology doesn't help me," said the man, sadly.
          "My reputation is ruined forever!" "Don't worry," said the rabbi. "I'll
          make a public announcement in the synagogue, letting everyone know that it
          was I who had made the mistake." "But that won't help," said the man.
          "They'll think you're just saying it because you feel sorry for me." The
          rabbi thought long and hard until he came up with a solution. "You have a
          daughter and I have a son," he said. "Let's arrange for them to be married.
          In that way, everyone will be assured that you are fully trustworthy, for
          otherwise I would never have suggested this match." And with that, the harm
          was repaired. But it's not always so easy...


          SPEECH AND THE PROCESS OF REDEMPTION

          The Talmud asks: Why was the Holy Temple destroyed? Because people spoke
          lashon hara about each other. Thus, says the Chofetz Chayim (the 20th
          century codified the laws of lashon hara), refraining from gossip is the
          single most effective way to reverse the damage and bring about the
          redemption! Why is it that YHWH is so concerned about this? In the big
          picture of the universe, what harm does it do? It violates the purposes of
          Torah and YHWHís plan for man. Maimonides said that the ìOrdinances of the
          Torah are not a burden, but a means of ensuring mercy, kindness, and peace
          in the world.î Lashon hara destroys the harmony of YHWHís plan for the
          world. ìAnd YAHshua spoke to them, saying, ëWoe to you, scribes and
          Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithes of mint and anise and cumin, and
          have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy and faith.
          These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.íî Matthew
          23:23. ìWhat does Adonai require of you? But to do justly, to love mercy,
          and to walk humbly with your YHWH?î Micah 6:8.
          Most who are taking hold of the faith of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and
          Jacob, will find that they can be very successful in regard to the Shabbat,
          kosher eating, and the starting places of a walk in Torah as described in
          Acts 15: 28-29. One of the most commonly violated segments of Torah, and
          perhaps the most difficult to gain mastery in, are the laws regarding
          lashon hara or, an ìevil tongue.î This is a very important area of Torah;
          few men master this Yetzer Hara (evil inclination). Disharmony will remain,
          and the full light of YHWH cannot be found in this life without mastery
          over lashon hara, an evil and gossiping tongue. There is no better time to
          undertake this challenge than today. We find ourselves in the season of
          redemption. Pesach celebrates our emergence from slavery unto freedom. And
          we are now counting the Omer, on the way toward receiving the Torah at
          Mount Sinai. Now is the time to break the dissention and divisiveness that
          plagues our people.





          NEW MESSIANIC TRANSLATION:
          THE HEBRAIC ROOTS VERSION
          http://www.nazarene.net/hrv
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