Shmirat haLoshon - Choosing One's Environment

This post is dedicated in merit that Hershel ben Etya Sarah have a yeshuah.

Elisheva Maline

In Judaism, service of G-d depends on self awareness, one's knowledge of the mitzvot (commandments) and his ability to put what he knows into practice e.g guarding the sabbath, being modest etc. 

We make choices and we live with them. The laws of shmirat halashon (guarding oneself from speaking lashon hara [evil speech] about others) are not usually seen as easy things to keep. However, with the right planning, difficulties might be nipped in the bud. If you want to be a top doctor, plan out how you are going to get a 4.0 on your GPA in high school and your under graduate's degree, then, you can apply for Harvard and med. Or, if you want to travel, buy a piggy bank, get a job and start plonking in the coins.

The same idea applies to cleaning up your speech. Go seek out a wholesome group of people to spend time with. It is not enough to complacently assume that you will catch yourself in the act of sharing some unfortunate event. It's even less likely that you will have enough nerve to let your friends know you aren't interested in hearing lashon hara when they approach you with their own juicy bits of information. Moreover, sometimes you are so involved in the moment that you might not even realize you spoke loshon hara until hours later! 

The Chafetz Chaim, our beloved European sage, relates the following scenario. You are sitting at a wedding and several of the people at your table start denigrating someone. One man turns to you and asks, 'Didn't you go to school with him? Was he always this way?' Now, your moment to shine or sink has arrived. Will you attempt to change the topic or will you succumb and add you piece of lashon hara to the conversation? 

Obviously, the Chofetz Chaim wants you to be the bigger man. He quotes our sages of blessed memory, "It is better to be called a fool one's entire life than to be considered wicked by G-d for even an instant." But make things harder by putting yourself in the line of fire. Don't wait your entire life to wine to G-d, "But I was a victim of circumstance." If you're not willing to do right, even at the risk of being called a fool, go find a like-minded group of friends. There's no struggle and you will thrive. You deserve it; where you sit in the afterlife depends on it.    

No comments:

Yashar LaChayal

The majesty of the Western Wall

Nefesh B'Nefesh