Vertlach: Shelach

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This weeks דבר תורה is לזכות רפואה שלימה ל-אברהם בייניש בן גאלדה שפרינצה.
ולאה בת חנה
And לזכר נשמת ר’ אברהם בן שמחה זצ”ל
ר’ חיים בן ר’ צבי ארי-ה זצ”ל
ור’ יחיאל יהודה בן ר’ אברהם מרדכי הכהן זצ”ל

THIS WEEKS DVAR TORAH SHOULD BE A ZECHUS REFUAH SH’LEIMA FOR ELIYAHU MORDECHAI BEN SHAINDEL. PLEASE CONTINUE TO BE MISPALLEL FOR HIM.

This week’s parsha starts off with the unfolding story of the spies. Last week’s parsha ends with the story of Miriam speaking loshon hara about Moshe. Rashi asks the obvious question: what is the common thread running thru these two stories? He answers that the spies were wicked because they saw how Miriam was punished for speaking loshon hara and they didn’t learn a lesson from her. We can infer from this, that there was a certain aspect of the story with Miriam that shed light on a new halacha of loshon hara that Miriam taught us, yet the spies didn’t pick it up. Rashi doesn’t say that the sin came just from the fact that they spoke loshon hara about the land but rather their defiance from the actions of Miriam that the spies did not pick up on.  Asks Reb Shimon Schwab Zt”l, what new chiddush was learned from the episode of Miriam?

Reb Shimon, Zt”l answers with an important lesson:

A person can assume that the issur of loshon hara is between two or more human beings. When a person and his friend (bein adam l’chaveiro) speak negative about someone else, the other party ultimately get insulted and may even struggle financially because of it. However, what about loshon hara on sticks and stones? What about loshon hara on a building? They obviously have no feelings, so a person can justify his actions by saying ‘what’s the big deal it’s an inanimate object, they have no feelings?

One could say that Moshe Rabbeinu had no feelings because the pasuk says Moshe was the most humble person that ever walked on the face of the earth. We can be certain that he held no grudges, no complaints and forgave everyone that ever mocked him allowing nothing to bother him. Why should there be any issur of loshon hara on him? Yet, we see that Miriam still got plagued.

We see from here that the lesson to be learnt is that although there were no feelings involved and no one seemed to get insulted nevertheless it is still forbidden to speak bad about something holy. Moshe, as we know, spoke to Hashem ‘peh el peh’, he was a walking shtick kedusha. If someone spoke badly about Moshe it was as if he insulted Hashem because Moshe was on such a high level.

The same is true about the holy soil of Eretz Yisroel. Yes, it’s just land; but it is the place of Hashem’s house. Hashem says ‘ki li ha’aretz’…the land is mine; someone who speaks loshon hara about it is as if he walked into Hashem’s backyard and insulted Him. For that, one will get reprimanded.

That was the chiddush that the spies failed to learn from Miriam. From the fact that even on Moshe Rabeinu there was an issur for someone to speak loshon hara should have taught them that for anything that’s a davar shebikdusha, especially Hashem’s backyard, one must choose his words extremely wisely. Although land has no feelings, but Hashem does. By the spies talking bad about the land it was as if they spoke chutzpa to Hashem……‘eretz she’ani doresh osah’…

Rav Pam, Zt”l would often say, people complain about Eretz Yisroel that it’s a poor country and it has many problems and it’s not safe with all the fighting . He asks, if a person unfortunately has a brother with a disability, would he blurt it out to everyone he meets or would he try to keep it within himself? That’s how one has to look at Eretz Yisroel….. it’s OUR brother. Although it has no feeling of its own, the issur still applies. That’s what the spies failed to grasp causing them to get punished.

The next time we want to comment about a yeshiva or a shul or any other davar shebikdusha one should be careful to choose his words wisely; the issur still applies.

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