shmirat haloshon - Gossip Stunts spiritual growth

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

Elisheva Maline

Is there a direct correlation between prattling and a lackluster relationship with G-d? Yes, indeed there is. In fact, the four elements -- air, earth, fire and water -- represent the four character traits most likely to drive Hashem (G-d) out of your life. Air is empty conversation, earth is sadness, fire is arrogance and water is indulging one's physical desires. According to the above formula, it is safe to assume that tongue-wagging keeps people from connecting with G-d on a real level?

What keeps the Big Mouths from experiencing spiritual bondage, anyway? The Maharal of Prague offers an incredibly deep explanation via an incident in the Book of Exodus. While still presiding as prince of Egypt, Moshe gets caught in an altercation with two Jewish slaves. He catches one raising a fist to strike the other and cries, "Why are you going to hit your friend?!" The fellow skirts his question by retorting, "Who made you a man, a prince and judge over us? Are you going to kill us the way you killed the Egyptian taskmaster [yesterday]?" Moshe is taken aback, "Indeed, the matter [of the taskmaster's murder] has become known," he murmurs to himself.

Typical scenario: man gets incensed, man kills instigator in a fit of rage, Next, man gets sought out by the police, man flees for his life. Regarding Moshe, the story is not so open-shut. He knew what the underlying issues were (unlike most of us humans) and therefore, was able to take justice into his own hands. It may be redundant to add that the case of his being a murderer was neither an act of revenge nor a fit of passion. (For more details, check out the incident, with commentaries, in Chapter 2 of the Book of Exodus.) However, if Moshe knew that he was in the right, one may find his fearful reaction to the Jewish slave's taunt a tad baffling. What was bothering him? 

Prior to their conversation, Moshe had been wondering why the Jews were being subjected to such immense suffering at the hands of the Egyptians; he couldn't figure it out. After the Jew shouted, "Are you going to kill us the way you killed the Egyptian taskmaster?" the answer dawned. My people are dilatorin, blurts and gossips. Their agony is a reflection of their spiritual reality. The moment they hear a piece of news, whether it be loshon hara or not, they have to share it. It had only been a day, no more than 24 hours, and already tongues were wagging over the Egyptian task master's untimely demise. 

Since dilatorin, or malshinim, are notorious for being unable to keep ideas and information to themselves, they essentially become slaves to their surroundings. Our nation is meant to be one with a strong inward reality. This requires acquiring information, tasting, chewing and sleeping with it overnight.The longer a thought with significance sits with us, the more power it gains.Can you picture those nut jobs who update their Facebook statuses every two and a half minutes? They allow their happiness to correlate with how many "likes" their comments get. Their well being becomes enslaved to how they imagine they appear in the eyes of others. 

Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch also mentions, in Parshat Toldot in the Book of Genesis, that Esau shucked off the yoke of Torah and mitzvot for reasons similar to the one mentioned above. Every time he learned something, the sparks of holiness that entered his mind were immediately ejected when he shared the information. In that sense, he was a man of the field. His twin, Yaakov, on the other hand, was a man of the tents. He sat and learned all day, and for the most part, gained the reputation of a simple, quiet man. In the end, it was Yaakov who fathered a great nation and Esau who dropped off. Later on, when Moshe speculated over why the Jews were in pain, he was answered by one man's thoughtless comment. If the fool had taken a moment to think about why he wanted to snap at Moshe instead of reacting, we might have experienced Exodus sooner. Nevertheless, the story serves as a powerful lesson for all of us.

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