Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Three Speeches – Do I Have to Listen to Them?

Source Sheet by Mordechai Lewis

The posuk[1] says, “It will be because you listen[2] to these laws, through keeping and performing them; Hashem, your G-d, will safeguard you…”

The Yalkut Shimoni[3] states the following:

Dovid said to Hashem: “You gave us 613 minor and major mitzvos.[4] I wasn’t just meticulous to fulfill only the major mitzvos, but even more so, the minor mitzvos,[5] which were given to man. If a person does not heed both types of mitzvos, he will definitely stumble in them and they will go under his heels.”

Rashi[6] explains that under his heels refer to lighter mitzvos that a person tends to treat with less regard.[7] It’s those types of mitzvos that one must be even more cognizant of. Nevertheless, the Torah assures us that if we keep even these neglected mitzvos, we can be certain that Hashem will reward them with His covenant and kindness.

Which mitzvos does one need to work on?

The Gemara[8] says, “There are things that stand in heights of the universe, but which people treat lightly.” An example of this is Tefillah which rises up to Heaven.[9] A few pages later, the Gemara[10] says that Tefillah is one of the four activities which require strengthening. Rashi[11] explains, “A person should strengthen himself in this constantly with all his energy.”

Is it just Tefillah? What’s the Gemara really trying to tell us? Anything that’s a spiritual matter, people tend to throw to the side.[12]

What are three examples of this?

The first one would be Tefillah.

The Kaf HaChayim[13] says that if a person cannot control his talking in shul, it is preferable that he daven at home and not attend shul at all. In other words, “If you come to shul to talk (to your friends), where do you go to daven?”[14]

Secondly, is v’dabeir davar[15] which means not speaking of your weekday occupations on Shabbos.[16] This includes restrictions upon verbally expressing one’s intentions to perform a melechah after Shabbos - even if the discussion does not help achieve one’s plans in any way. One may not state his intention to repair an appliance, send an email,[17] drive a car or similar melechah activities after Shabbos.[18] In addition, one may not negotiate business deals or plan strategies, etc. on Shabbos.

What type of speech is permitted? Speech that doesn’t comprise any melechah intentions is permissible if the conversation is enjoyable to the participants.

Lastly, is Lashon Harah,[19] which means a derogatory statement that is true.

The Noam Elimelech[20] identifies Lashon Harah as one of the mitzvos which people do not take seriously, causally trampling with their heels. The Chofetz Chayim says, “People have become used to saying whatever happens to come out of their mouth, without first considering that perhaps what they say is considered rechilus or Lashon Harah.”[21]

Napoleon Hill gives us beneficial advice, “Think twice before you speak because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”

The Chidah says, “Whoever wants to get a portion in the World to Come cheaply, guard your tongue from evil.”[22] Conversely, “When we speak Lashon Harah about someone else, we take his sins upon ourselves and he takes our mitzvos!”[23]

Therefore, the only way a person will be saved from his Yetzer Harah is through learning Halachah.[24] In this case, it’s learning hilchos Lashon Harah.

If a small or big piece of food goes down one’s air pipe it can cause him to choke or worse, G-d forbid. So too, “Be careful with a minor mitzvah, (as you would be) with a major one, because you do not know the reward for mitzvos.”[25] In other words, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Rather, “Sweat the small stuff and the big stuff.”
[1] Devarim 7:12.

[2] One of the 48 ways that the Torah is acquired is through attentive listening (Avos 6:6). See also Medrash Tanchuma Yisro #2.

[3] Tehillim 49:158 “למה אירא בימי רע עון עקבי יסובני”.

[4] See Tefillin by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, page 44.

[5] See Avos 2:1.

[6] Devarim 7:12 “והיה עקב תשמעון” and Tanchumah, Eikev 1.

[7] The Chofetz Chayim says, “It’s imperative to adopt a mitzvah that society generally ignores. Even though man is obliged to observe all of the mitzvos; still, he should embrace one specific mitzvah and be especially zealous in its performance and throughout his entire life never once violate it…” [Sefer Shemiras HaLashon – volume 1, epilogue, chapter 3 “איתא ב"ספר חרדים” and Chayei Adam 68:20]

[8] Berachos 6b.

[9] Ibid., Rashi “דברים שעומדים ברומו של עולם”.

[10] Berachos 32b.

[11] Ibid. “צריכין חזוק”.

[12] For example: hilchos sheimos, hilchos berachos and shemiras einayim etc.

[13] Orach Chayim 151:8.

[14] Read The Har Nof Massacre – Is There Any Lesson to Learn?

[15] Read Shabbos Day or Saturday.

[16] See The 39 Melochos by Rabbi Dovid Ribiat, pages 95-132. See also Shabbos 150a and Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 306:1.

[17] I.e. Texting, Facebooking, Twittering or Skyping (link:

[18] Shulchan Aruch 307:1.

[19] Read Life Insurance and Loshon Hora.

[20] Al HaTorah, Shelach 17:6 “שישגיח על עבירות שאדם דש בעקביו... לשון הרע”.

[21] Sefer Chofetz Chaim – English Translation, page 18 (Israel Bookshop Publications).

[22] In Maris H’Ayin to Avodah Zarah 19b.

[23] Rabbeinu Bachayei, Chovos HaLevavos, Sha’ar HaKniah, chapter 7 “והשלישי כשיתפרסם ענינו”. See The Power of Speech by Yehuda Cahn, pages 31-38, for an explanation.

[24] Chidah to Pesach Einayim, Eiruvin 64a and Kuntres Chovas HaShemirah, chapter 3 “ודע עוד”.

In general, is there a litmus test to know if what you’re saying is Lashon Ho Harah? Would you say the comment about him if he was presently in front of you? If not, then it is probably Lashon Harah.

[25] See note 5.
An urgent request for assistance.  One of our dear readers is about to make Aliyah with her family.  They are all set, but have a need for additional funds, since they have not been able to sell their house in time.  I have been saying for years how we can come closer to Hashem by helping others.  This is a beautiful opportunity to come closer to Hashem by doing such a act of kindness for a very, very special Jewish family.  Go to this webpage and help; Hashem will pay you back in kindness tenfold:
The Chesed Fund


  1. Very good post, we think of big things when doing teshuvah but sometimes minute changes can help bigtime when we don't even realize it.

    I donated to your friends' aliya campaign. In that zchus please have them daven for me and my family, as we are stuck in NY and it is not looking like we will be making aliya by "natural means." I am Chaya Rochel bas Shulamis. Thank you.

    1. You are so correct. We think along the lines of all the big mitzvot and we aren't as concerned with the little things. Yet, it is so important to watch every detail in life. We get judged on the small stuff just as we do on the big stuff. The easiest Teshuvah to accomplish is the small easy mitzvot; what a shame to miss out on the merit of doing little things.

      As I stated: helping others comes back to you ten times what you did. Hashem will take good care of you and your family just because of your concern for others.

  2. GIFT OF TESHUVAH: The perfect gift for today's generation.

    Charlie Harary on Change

  3. Can North Korean nukes hit US mainland? Maybe. But EMP blast threat is 'highly credible'

    1. It is very unlikely that North Korea would send an ICBM to the US. It would not do too much and might only reach Alaska. The more likely scenario is that North Korea and Iran have ships and submarines that could launch from off of the east or west coast of the US.

      By the way, the article talks about the difficulty of an ICBM going into space and the reentry. It shows a lack of technological accuracy, since the US did it in the 1960's (I know, since I was an engineer then and helped develop the reentry vehicle for the US ICBM, it was not that difficult).

      The most devastating possibility is that since NK has two satellites that go over the US, if there is a nuclear bomb on one or both, that would be a good height for an EMP attack.

      Since the US is in more danger of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and the most devastating of all, the Nibiru flyover, that is to me the more likely scenario.

      Why would Hashem do that to the evil US of Magog and the rest of the world? To satisfy the 2/3rd prophecy of Zechariah 13:8, and to scare all the Jews into coming home. Moshiach, Moshiach, Moshiach.