Rabbi Reisman – Parshas Emor 5782
1 – Topic – The consequences of speaking Lashon Hora
As we prepare for Shabbos Parshas Emor. We watch the clock tick down to Shavuos, to Kabbalas Hatorah. I have no doubt that as we come closer to Kabbalas Hatorah more and more people will be attending the Mishmar to prepare properly for our Kabbalas Hatorah. We are entering now the second half of Sefira and we feel the excitement marching towards Mattan Torah. We should feel it.
Let me share with you two thoughts at the end of the Parsha and then B’ezras Hashem a Dvar Halacha at the beginning of the Parsha. Let us start with a thought at the end of the Parsha a few Pesukim from the end. It says in 24:19 (וְאִישׁ, כִּי-יִתֵּן מוּם בַּעֲמִיתוֹ--כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה, כֵּן יֵעָשֶׂה לּוֹ). A person who inflicts a wound on his friend, as he did so shall be done to him (שֶׁבֶר, תַּחַת שֶׁבֶר, עַיִן תַּחַת עַיִן, שֵׁן תַּחַת שֵׁן--כַּאֲשֶׁר יִתֵּן מוּם בָּאָדָם, כֵּן יִנָּתֶן בּוֹ).
In the Talelai Oros he brings that from here a Remez to something that is mentioned in the Chovos Halevavos and the Chofetz Chaim brings in the Sefer Shemiras Halashon. Specifically, the Chofetz Chaim in Sefer Shemiras Halashon in the Shaar Hazechira, Perek Zayin, brings an incredible thing. That when someone talks Lashon Hora about someone else the Mitzvos of the speaker of Lashon Hora go to the one who the Lashon Hora is spoken about. So that he gets a windfall of Mitzvos. It is a mistake when people say it is “All” the Mitzvos as that is not true. It does not say all the Mitzvos, it says the Mitzvos. If you look at the source in the Chovos Halevavos (ואמר אחד כן החסידים הרבה בני אדם יבואו ליום החשבון וכשמראים להם מעשיהם ימצאו בספר זכיותם זכיות שלא עשו אותם ויאמרו לא עשינו אותם ויאמר להם עשה אותם אשר דבר בכם וספר בגנותכם. וכן כשיחסרו מספר זכיות המספרים בגנותם יבקשו אותו בעת ההיא ויאמר להם אבדו מכם בעת שדברתם בפלוני ופלוני) you will see that it is some of the Mitzvos. Some of the Mitzvos of a person who speaks Lashon Hora go and switch to the recipient and that is the person who was hurt by his words. It switches over.
Somewhere else in Shemiras Halashon the Chofetz Chaim writes that this may be the reason that at the end of Elokai Netzor there is a Minhag to say a Posuk that has to do with the person’s name. Why say a Posuk that has to do with a person’s name? He says because there is a concept that L’asid Lavo on the Yom Hadin people will come to the Yom Hadin with a Behala and they will not remember their name. What that means exactly is hard to understand but Balei Kabala write such an idea that people will not remember their names.
Zagt the Chofetz Chaim that on the Yom Hadin on the scales a person will see either Mitzvos that he didn’t do that are suddenly on the scale or Mitzvos that he did do but are not there. There will be a Behala, there will be a question, am I the right person? Somehow that is related to the idea that a person has to stick his name into into a Mitzvah, into Shemoneh Esrei. Whatever that means, the Yesod of the Shemiras Halashon that a person who speaks Lashon Hora Rachmana Litzlon loses Mitzvos to the other person, that Yesod is Merumaz in this Posuk. (וְאִישׁ, כִּי-יִתֵּן מוּם בַּעֲמִיתוֹ), if you have damaged someone else, (כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה) the Mitzvos that you have done (כֵּן יֵעָשֶׂה לּוֹ), go over to the other person. This idea is brought in the Chovos Halevavos in the Shaar Hachani’a (הכניעה), Perek Zayin and this is the idea that is brought down.
Now of course this idea needs an explanation. You suddenly get a windfall, a bonanza. It is your lucky day, someone spoke Lashon Hora about you and you get Zechusim that you don’t deserve. It is very difficult to understand the concept.
In the Michtav Eliyahu he explains it as follows. He says that when Reuven speaks Lashon Hora about Shimon, how damaging is it? Well it depends. It depends on how much of a respected person Reuven is. If the person speaking the Lashon Hora is a Tzaddik, obviously he is doing something that is not Tzidkus now but he is otherwise a righteous person, a Talmid Chochom, a Chashuve person, then when he speaks bad about someone else it causes greater damage. If he is less than that, then it causes less damage. Zagt the Michtav Eliyahu, to the extent that your Mitzvos do damage to the other person that because you did Mitzvos you are respected and does damage to the other person, then it is like you are using the Mitzvos to hurt him, so Rachmana Litzlon you lose the Mitzvos and it comes to him. In other words, the damage, the hurt that he got is compensated by the cause of the damage. However, that works, it is obviously an extraordinary type of a punishment for someone who speaks Lashon Hora and hopefully it is something that will motivate us to do better.
2 – Topic – A thought on the end of the Parsha about being Over an Aveira B’heter
Another thought on the end of the Parsha. As you know, the end of the Parsha is the Parsha of the Mekaleil, of the one who was Nokeiv the Sheim Hashem as it says in 24:11 (וַיִּקֹּב בֶּן-הָאִשָּׁה הַיִּשְׂרְאֵלִית אֶת-הַשֵּׁם, וַיְקַלֵּל). Moshe Rabbeinu says put him in jail because I don’t know what to do with this man and then at the end of the Parsha HKB”H tells him (וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה, אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וַיּוֹצִיאוּ אֶת-הַמְקַלֵּל אֶל-מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה, וַיִּרְגְּמוּ אֹתוֹ אָבֶן). That he should be stoned to death by the whole congregation (וְרָגְמוּ אֹתוֹ, כָּל-הָעֵדָה).
In the same Parsha Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu other Mitzvos. He says 24:17 ( וְאִישׁ, כִּי יַכֶּה כָּל-נֶפֶשׁ אָדָם--מוֹת, יוּמָת). Someone who kills somebody dies. 24:18 (וּמַכֵּה נֶפֶשׁ-בְּהֵמָה, יְשַׁלְּמֶנָּה--נֶפֶשׁ, תַּחַת נָפֶשׁ). Someone who kills an animal has to pay. Someone who injures a person has to pay. Someone who injures an animal has to pay. It goes through the whole Parsha and then (וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה, אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וַיּוֹצִיאוּ אֶת-הַמְקַלֵּל אֶל-מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה). It doesn’t belong, it is totally out of order. The whole end of the Parsha doesn’t work. We are in middle of the story of the Mekaleil and then Moshe is told to take him out and kill him which starts in Posuk Yud Aleph and then in Posuk Chaf Gimmel they took him out and killed him and in between from Yud Zayin to Chaf Beis there are a bunch of other Halachos that don’t belong here. Tzorech Biur!
The answer lies in a big Yesod that it says in many places but I saw in the Chofetz Chaim by the Parsha of Ir Hanidachas. By the Parsha of the Ir Hanidachas the whole city is put to death. Then it says in Devarim 13:18 (וְנָתַן-לְךָ רַחֲמִים וְרִחַמְךָ) that Hashem will have mercy on you. Zagt the Chofetz Chaim there is a danger. When Klal Yisrael has to Rachmana Litzlon has to put a city to death it makes death much more acceptable to people. It weakens a person’s sense of Rachmanus. (וְנָתַן-לְךָ רַחֲמִים וְרִחַמְךָ). Hashem says it is going to damage you. If you are going to put a city to death, you have to do it because it is a Chiyuv and a Mitzvah but be careful. It is going to do damage. So Hashem promised (וְנָתַן-לְךָ רַחֲמִים וְרִחַמְךָ). I will give you Rachamim. That is I believe in the Chofetz Chaim Al Hatorah. The same thing here. Hashem told Klal Yisrael take him out and kill him. It is a danger, it is going to weaken the feeling of Klal Yisrael towards the horror of killing somebody. HKB”H says at the same time tell Klal Yisrael if you kill somebody you are Chayuv Misah, if you kill animals there are consequences. Not only kill, if you injure a person there are consequences. Not only injure a person, if you injure an animal there are consequences. Warn Klal Yisrael so that they should have Chizuk.
Any time a person is in a situation where a Mitzvah gives him an opportunity that would otherwise be an Aveira it is a danger that it is going to weaken the person. For example, if you say Lashon Hora L’toeles when there is a situation that you have a Heter to say Lashon Hora, and you say it. Be careful, it is going to weaken the wall that you have in front of you, the barrier you have, the Siyag you have not to speak Lashon Hora. So be careful. You have to strengthen yourself. If it comes to a situation like that you have to strengthen yourself.
If you are in a situation when you are a Rebbi and you have to punish a Talmid, be careful. Punishing, it is a terrible thing to inflict hurt on somebody. You have to strengthen yourself afterwards, you have to be Mechazeik yourself afterwards because even when you do it B’heter you have to be careful. That is the lesson at the end of the Parsha.
At the end of the Parsha we are told (הוֹצֵא אֶת-הַמְקַלֵּל) and then Posuk 17 – 22 that tells us Moshe Rabbeinu you have to kill the Mekaleil and tell Klal Yisrael these Halachos and then that is what they did. Then they took him out. The lesson being that the situations where you are allowed to do it needs a Chizuk
Anybody who is in Hatzolah will tell you that even when it is a Mitzvah to be Mechaleil Shabbos but anybody who is in that situation where it is a Mitzvah and he is Mechaleil Shabbos many times needs Chizuk in Kavod Shabbos. It is that way. Even when a person does the Mitzvah you have to be Mechazeik yourself. And so two lessons from the end of the Parsha.
3 – Topic – A Ha’ara about Tumas Meis for Kohanim at JFK
At the beginning of the Parsha is the Azhara to Kohanim not to become Tamei except of course to their close relatives, but otherwise Kohanim are warned not to become Tamei. I believe that I have spoken about some of these Halachos in the past. Specifically, that Tumah travels from one room to another if there is an open door, even if there are 100 rooms with open doors. If there are no open doors and the Meis is on the first floor and somebody is on the second floor and they are under the same room and there is no door open. The person is in a room and the door is closed the Tumah doesn’t travel. Tumah travels through open rooms and doors. I have mentioned this numerous times in the past.
A Ha’ara, I am not saying a Halacha. In Kennedy Airport everything is wide open. There are no doors. Everything is wide open. What happens is there is one El Al plane all the way at the end of the gate and the door is open because people are boarding and there is a Meis on the plane. The Meis on the plane, the Plane itself is not a Chatzitza to the Tumah because Kol Davar Hamekabeil Tumah is not Chotzeitz. A plane is not connected to the ground, the plane itself is not a Chatzitza to the Tumah. So there is a Meis on the plane. The door of the plane is open because people are getting on board. So the Tumah can work its way out of the door to the terminal and the whole terminal is wide open as there are no doors in the terminal. What is going on?
Every night when there is a Meis on the plane shouldn’t the whole terminal be Assur to Kohanim? After all, there is no limit to how far Tumah can travel. How do Kohanim go anywhere in that terminal, on any flight? This is something which needs an explanation. It seems to me a very strong Ha’ara. As I said, I am not saying a Dvar Halacha. If someone can come up with a good explanation or a Sefer that discusses it I would be very grateful. Having said that, I want to wish one and all an absolutely wonderful, delightful and extraordinary Shabbos. A meaningful Shabbos and a Shabbos of Kedusha. A Gutten Shabbos to all!