This post is dedicated in merit that Hershel ben Etya Sarah have a yeshuah.
Did you ever hear the phrase, "The walls have ears"? When discussing secret matters or sharing juicy loshon hara stories, some people are pragmatic enough to remember that once words leave their mouths, they no longer control over where they end up. Where does this lead people? Some of them lower their words to whispers and, sometimes, cease talking altogether.
Well, even if the walls did have ears it wouldn't matter. They don't have mouths. So let's get to the bottom of this household expression: what are these walls and what are these ears that are listening in? They're our children, siblings and/or parents who are standing in the room nearby and ended up overhearing the conversation by accident. These walls and ears might even be the strangers standing next to you on the bus. How embarrassing. And if that's not bad enough, some of them might actually know the person you're gossiping (or complaining) about. Worse, they might report back to that person. "Did you think about the trail?" Chandler Bing.
Here are real life horror stories about people who didn't hold themselves back and lived to regret it................... Oh, look at me. I'm so good at biting my tongue. Let the ellipsis be a lesson to you. Learn to control yourself.
We must be cautious. A famous Chasidic story illustrates the extent of the damage that Lashon HaRa can do: A man went about gossiping and telling malicious stories without restraint. Later, when he realized how much his tales had hurt people, and began to feel remorse. He went to the Rabbi seeking repentance, 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 into the wind.” The man thought this was a bizarre request, but it was simple enough, and so he did it. When he returned to inform the rabbi that the task was done, the Rabbi said, “Now, go and collect all the feathers and return them to the pillow.” Again, the man went to do as the rabbi had asked, but found that the feathers had blown far and wide, and he was unable to retrieve even a handful. He returned to the rabbi, ashamed to admit he was not able to gather the feathers, certain that he should never have released the feathers in the first place. Knowingly, the rabbi rebuked him, saying, “Your words are like the feathers: once they leave your mouth, you know not where they will go, and you can never retrieve them back again. It is always wiser to guard your tongue and keep your words to yourself.”
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