Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Don’t Confuse Me with the Truth!
I am overwhelmed by the attention that I have gotten this past day. Between 110 comments that appeared on Shirat Devorah and many E-mails that I received, both supporting and condemning my effort to save the world. Overall, I am extremely happy with what happened. First of all, I never thought I could get so many people discussing and debating Moshiach. Since I feel very strongly that we are in a time that we should be talking about and learning about Moshiach, I look at yesterday as a very gratifying Kiddush Hashem.
I also woke up this morning with a strong message from Hashem as to why it happened. Since I believe very strongly that everything, and I mean everything, is for the good and from Hashem, I prayed yesterday for insight as to why Hashem wanted this to happen. The message I got was to turn it into a very productive learning experience. One topic that I have mentioned but have not really emphasized is that of Loshon Harah, the evil tongue. I believe that Loshon Harah is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the Torah but one of the most important personality characteristics that Hashem wants us to work on. In simple English it is the idea of talking about people, sometimes called gossip, which always has a negative effect. It is an abomination to Hashem since he wants us to love and help each other and not hurt each other.
The Chofetz Chaim, who has written books on Loshon Harah, is considered one of the best sources of information on the subject. He teaches us that it is not just saying unfavorable statements about someone, but even praising the individual could have negative effects for that individual. We are not even concerned whether the Loshon Harah is true or false; it is just the idea of talking about someone and the damage it could do. One caveat is if the information that you are providing someone will save them suffering, then it is allowed. If someone stole money from me and is offering to loan money to a fellow Jew, I am obligated to help an honest Jew from being swindled or hurt in any way.
Let me give you an example of Loshon Harah that is more subtle in nature. You want to take a particular college course and a friend tells you "make sure you only take the course with Prof. Peloni." One would think what is wrong with suggesting Prof. Peloni that his friend had as his teacher. But it is actually Loshon Harah because now you have said favorable things about Prof. Peloni and hinted to negativity about the other professors teaching that course. That may not have been intended, but yet the individual suggesting one particular professor probably doesn't know the others that available to teach the course. They may even be better than Prof. Peloni. The better way would be to just tell the individual "I had Prof. Peloni who I thought did a good job." Something else that is subtle is to never disclose that a fellow Jew may be very wealthy. Information like that tends to cause people to bother the individual for more tzedukah, loans, help with financing and who knows what else. A wealthy Jew is judged by Hashem on his own merit as to how he uses his money and not from the pestering of others (unless that is part of the test from Hashem). How other Jews treat a wealthy Jew is part of their test in life.
I want to interject a thought here which will disclose a deeper part of the problem that I confronted yesterday. Many of you, looking at the example I just gave, may be saying "that is not Loshon Harah." The fact is I got the example from a book by the Chofetz Chaim. Much of what I had to say yesterday was misunderstood regarding my information about Moshiach. When one makes a statement and someone else disagrees, Hashem does not want us to promote sinat chinam, baseless hatred, but to open friendly dialogue about the disagreement; respectfully listening to the other side of the argument and resolving it the Torah way with love of our fellow Jew. All parties are being tested by Hashem as to how they handle the situation. When someone is misinformed about the truth and is hardheaded about his or her personal opinion, it should never result in anger and name-calling. That is some of the worst Loshon Harah, especially on a public forum. It is totally offensive to Hashem.
Let us talk about a more severe situation and how it can cause someone permanent damage. When I was in the Army, there was a particular sergeant who was absolutely a delightful and pleasant individual. Everybody liked him. One day he was exiting a building and there were two policeman and a young woman standing at the exit. The young woman pointed to my friend and said "that's him, he is the one who raped me." My friend was handcuffed and imprisoned awaiting his trial. At the trial the young woman admitted that she had just had an argument with her boyfriend. Due to a dislike she developed for all men, she decided that she would accuse the first person who walked out of the building. Obviously, my friend was released from custody as he was completely innocent. However, never again did anyone look at him the same way. They always wondered whether he was really involved; and, that maybe she had just changed her mind. People never treated him the same after that incident. How sad to just have your entire life upset because of Loshon Harah.
Be aware that I didn't feel bad about some of the things that were said about me. I was more concerned about how Hashem is judging the perpetrator of Loshon Harah, and what the individual has done to him or herself. My love of my fellow Jew means I am bothered when I see someone sinning needlessly and causing suffering and hardship to come upon him or herself. I am a very happy and contented person who was not worried about me. I started the blog to help others and not to cause them anguish.
Let me give an example written by Mr. Anonymous that should help summarize the horror of what an individual can do to him or herself. Anonymous said "the Rambam curses an individual who calculates the end." Then Anonymous went on call me an idiot. What a big negative report went into Anonymous’s book that Hashem keeps on him. Let us analyze what happened. First of all, one must know what the Rambam really said, since he even gave a possible calculation of the end. He gave two provisos, telling us under what conditions one can calculate. One: if the date is far away, it is very depressing to tell people such news and it should be avoided. If the date is very close, many Rabbis say that you should disclose such information. If it results in people doing repentance, more mitzvot, more praying and more Torah study, what a blessing has occurred. Hashem will even speed up the arrival due to the increased effort. That is what is meant by "if we are deserving."
The second suggestion from the Rambam is that you say that the calculated date is your opinion. What is interesting about this entire episode was that I never calculated a date. I only compiled a vast amount of information from very reliable sources, such Scriptures, and reproduced what was presented on many other blogs. I came up with none of the information, but only gathered it all into one place and offered it to my readers. The conclusion was obvious since it repeated itself over and over again in the compiled documentation. This is the 100 pages of evidence that I offer for anyone who wishes to review it. That information is growing since I received new information just this morning (see the comment on yesterday's post from A Yid).
The Jewish way to disagree with someone is to ask questions and get a clarification discussion started. How many times I have gotten E-mails from individuals who didn't agree with my postings. Sometimes they ask what references did you get the information from (that is the Jewish way). Sometimes they just told me you are wrong or they stated this is not the absolute truth. What is interesting is how many times they completely misunderstood what I had written. Unfortunately, most comments are No Reply E-mails so I can’t even get a discussion going. Most of the close-minded and even nasty comments are from this person named Anonymous. If people would send me a private E-mail that I could respond to, that would be the Jewish way and would prevent that individual from being negatively looked upon by Hashem.
I unfortunately cannot write everything that I wish about the subject. Many would require a volume of details especially considering that I may have written many blog posts from information gathered from many books. It's very difficult to summarize many subjects and cover every aspect that I would like to. This unfortunately leaves room for questions and sometimes comments that show that the individual is not understanding what was said. I often receive excellent comments that do enhance the topic. In posting these comments my readers get to see the additional information. But when something is completely misunderstood, only questions, respectively submitted, will clarify a misunderstanding. This may come as a shock but “I am human.” I have made some very minor mistakes and was blessed by someone intelligent enough to point them out allowing me to make a correction. I like to consider myself a nice guy, a friendly person who loves other people and wants to help them. All I ask is that you reciprocate in a kind manner by telling me what bothers you or what you need help with, allowing us to work together to resolve your issue. Bringing Loshon Harah into the picture is very counterproductive for you and sad for me.
I would like to disclose something about myself that has been misunderstood from the very beginning. I am not a Rabbi. Using the word rav is meant as a teacher. Wikipedia states: The term rav is also a generic term for a teacher or a personal spiritual guide. For example, Pirkei Avot tells us that "Joshua ben Perachyah said: Provide for yourself a teacher (rav). It doesn't diminish my level of scholarship because I was never ordained a Rabbi even though I am referred to by friends, and even when I had coworkers, as Rabbi. In my environment, it is a very common title whether one has been ordained or not. It is based more on the level of scholarship and above all a tremendous desire to help people. It was comical in my last employment environment, before I retired, I worked in an office with other engineers who called me their spiritual leader. I remember one day a woman from an adjoining office coming in to talk to me and asked me for guidance. When I asked her why she was asking me, she said you are my spiritual adviser. When I said to her “but you are Catholic why aren't you talking to your priest,” she answered with Loshon Harah "he is useless."
My desire to teach and help others is not out of arrogance but strictly to perform Hashem's will. All I ask is that we work together, respect each other, learn together and do everything the way Hashem wants to see it done. It's the best thing for both of us.
Posted by The Absolute Truth at 2:56 PM