Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshios Tazria-Metzora

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

Rabbi Frand started the vort by making reference to a story in the gemara about a peddler. The peddler would announce that he was selling the elixir of life and that anyone who wanted the elixir of life should come to him. The peddler was approached by R' Yannai who asked to buy the elixir. The peddler responded to R' Yannai - you are a tzadik, you don't need this. However, R' Yannai persisted. Finally the seller said to him - look in the book of Tehillim - it is written - who is one who desires life ... keep your mouth from speaking evil.

Following this conversation, R' Yannai was heard to say, all my life I would say these pesukim, but I never understood this until now.

R' Frand asked the obvious question - what was it that the peddler was able to teach R' Yannai about the pesukim in Tehillim which he did not know previously?

R' Frand (citing to R' Isaac Bernstein) answered this question by quoting the sefer Casnos Or which developed an interesting, but somewhat scary thought.

The Casnos Or stated in the name of Chovos Halivavos that a person who says lashon hara about another person loses his mitzvos and gains the other person's aveiros. When the speaker comes to be judged in the world to come, he will see that he has aveiros that he never knew he committed and he is missing mitzvos he was sure he kept. When he questions his record, they will advise him that when he spoke lashon hara he absorbed the other person's aveiros and forfeited his mitzvos to him.

The Chovos Halivavos tells a story about a man who sent a fruit basket to another person who had spoken lashon hara about him. When asked why he did it, he replied that it was a thank you for giving me the mitzvos by speaking lashon hara about me.

The Casnos Or also quoted the sefer Marpei Lashon which states that many people get extra reward in the next world that they were not expecting because someone regularly spoke loshon hara about them.

With this introduction, the Casnos Or answered the question on the R' Yannai story. R' Yannai knew that there was reward in this world for not speaking lashon hara. However, R' Yannai learned from the peddler that there is a reward in olam haba for those who don't speak lashon hara and have others speak lashon hara about them.

R' Frand then quoted R' Isaac Bernstein who cited to a footnote in the Chafetz Chaim which discusses the minhag that some people at the end of their shemoneh esreh say pesukim which begin with the first letter of their name and end with the last letter. Why do they do so? So that they will remember their own name when they come to shamayim. R' Bernstein explained that the Shelah HaKadosh clarifies (based on the above) that when a person comes to shamayim he will see all these extra mitzvos on his account. He will ask - where did they come from? He will be informed that some are so and so's mitzvos and others are from another person and so on and so on. All of these mitzvos will come because the person was the target of lashon hara. The person will need to be reminded of his own name because he will be overhwelmed by all these extra mitzvos.

Having said all of the above, R' Frand said that he had a problem understanding how a person can lose all of his mitzvos by speaking lashon hara. He addressed the problem by noting that the Marpei Lashon states that the person who loses his mitzvos is a habitual lashon hara teller whose very nature is to speak ill about others. This is the person who forfeits his olam haba to the target of speech. Having said that, R' Frand was quick to remind that there is a reason that the warnings exist about lashon hara and it should not be treated lightly.

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