ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler of Kollel Iyun Hadaf
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
ERCHIN 15 - Two weeks of study material have been dedicated by Mrs. Estanne Abraham Fawer to honor the twelfth Yahrzeit of her father, Rav Mordechai ben Eliezer Zvi (Rabbi Morton Weiner) Z'L, who passed away on 18 Teves 5760. May the merit of supporting and advancing Dafyomi study -- which was so important to him -- during the weeks of his Yahrzeit serve as an Iluy for his Neshamah.
(a) The case of 'Motzi-Shem-Ra' is - that of a man who, the morning after his wedding, accuses his newly married wife of having committed adultery during their engagement, and of no longer being a virgin).
(b) Our Mishnah explains 'be'Motzi-Shem-Ra Lehakel u'Lehachmir' to mean - that he has to pay a hundred Shekel, irrespective of whether his wife is a 'Gedolah she'bi'Kehunah' or a' Ketanah she'be'Yisrael'.
(c) When the Tana extrapolates from here that speech is more stringent than an act - he is referring to the act of an Oneis and a Mefateh, where the man pays only fifty Shekalim (as we learned in the previous Mishnah).
(d) Based on the Pasuk in Sh'lach l'cha (in connection with the sin of the Meraglim) "Va'yenasu Osi Zeh Eser Pe'amim" the Tana comments - that proof of the severity of Lashon ha'Ra lies in the fact that the decree that the Dor ha'Midbar would die in the desert over the next forty years was sealed entirely on account of Lashon ha'Ra (which they spoke about Eretz Yisrael, as we shall see shortly).
(a) In the event that the man is telling the truth, the Torah rules - that (subject to there being witnesses) the woman is sentenced to death.
(b) Rava therefore learns from the Pasuk in ki Seitzei "Ki Hotzi Shem-Ra" - that he is punished (not for trying to have his wife put to death, but) for the Motzi-Shem-Ra that he spoke about her.
(c) Based on the Pasuk in Iyov "bi'Melos Safko Yeitzer lo", Rav Hamnuna stated - that Hash-m does not punish a person until his measure is full, leading us to believe that maybe the decree of the Dor ha'Midbar was not due to the Meraglim alone, but to the accumulation of the ten trials, of which the Meraglim was the last straw.
(d) We learn that it was - from the word "Zeh" (in above-mentioned Pasuk in Sh'lach-l'cha "Va'yenasu Osi Zeh Eser Pe'amim"), implying that this was the sin that caused it, independent of the others.
(a) Rebbi Elazar ben P'rata extrapolates from the Meraglim what a terrible thing Lashon ha'Ra is - seeing as they were punished so severely, even though they spoke only about wood and stones, so imagine what sort of punishment is in store for someone who speaks about people!
(b) We query this however, on the basis of the Meraglim's statement " ... ki Chazak Hu Mimenu", by which they meant that the Cana'anim were stronger than Hash-m (Kevayachol), and that even if He wanted to, He would not have been able to drive the Cana'anim out of the land ...
(c) ... causing us to query Rebbi Elazar ben P'rata's inference - since maybe the Meraglim were punished for the blasphemy, and not merely for the Lashon ha'Ra.
(d) Rabah Amar Resh Lakish refutes this suggestion however, based on the Pasuk "Vayamusu ha'Anashim Motzi'ei Dibas ha'Aretz Ra'ah" - indicating that the punishment was due to the Lashon ha'Ra that they spoke, and not to the blasphemy.
(a) Rebbi Yehudah in a Beraisa - lists ten times that Yisrael tested Hash-m up to the time of the Meraglim.
(b) He lists two at the Yam-Suf, two regarding water, two by the Manna, two by the quails - the Golden Calf and the Meraglim (that took place in Midbar Paran).
(c) The first trial at the Yam-Suf was their complaint before they entered it ('Are there not enough graves in Egypt'?). The second one, based on Rav Huna, who described Yisrael of that generation as 'Ketanei Emunah' (citing Rabah bar Mari) - was their complaint that, just as they had emerged from the Yam-Suf unscathed on one bank of the sea, so too did the Egyptians emerge unscathed on the other bank.
(a) To allay Yisrael's fears, Hash-m ordered the Angel of the sea (Neptune) - to eject the bodies of the dying Egyptians on to dry land before the eyes of Yisrael.
(b) He objected on the grounds - that it is not right to withdraw a gift that one has already given (in the form of the corpses of the drowning Egyptians as fish fodder).
(c) Hash-m reassured him - that He would pay back one a half fold in the time of Sisra (whose army possessed nine hundred chariots, as compared to the six hundred choice chariots of Paroh).
(d) When he complained that it is not respectful for a servant to claim his debt from his Master, Hash-m replied - that this would not be necessary, because He would appoint the River Kishon as a guarantor.
(e) We learn from the Pasuk "Vayar Yisrael es Mitzrayim Meis al-S'fas ha'Yam" - that the Angel of the sea subsequently obeyed Hash-m's instructions.
(a) The first trial regarding the water took place at Marah (where the bitter water became sweet), the second one, that took place at Refidim - where they were lax in Torah, and where Amalek subsequently attacked them.
(b) The first trial regarding the Manna was that the people went out to gather it on Shabbos (even though they had been instructed not to); the second was - that they left over Manna for the next day (even though they had been instructed not to).
(c) The first trial regarding the quails took place in Beshalach, after they ran out of the dough that they took with them from Egypt (to fall simultaneously with the Manna); the second one occurred in Parshas Beha'aloscha - when they clamored for more (see Tosfos DH 'His'avu Ta'avah').
(a) Based on the Pasuk "Mah Yiten Lecha u'Mah Yosif lach, Lashon Remiyah", Rebbi Yochanan in the name of Rebbi Yossi ben Zimra explains - that besides two walls (one of bone [the teeth] and one of flesh [the lips]), the two protections that the tongue enjoys, that ought to keep it quiet are - that, unlike the other limbs, it lies horizontally and is situated inside the body.
(b) The same author comments that someone who speaks Lashon ha'Ra, (based on the Pasuk ...
1. ... " ... asher Amru li'Leshoneinu Nagbir, Sefaseinu Itanu, Mi Adon Lanu") - denies Hash-m (Kevayachol).
2. ... "Meloshni be'Seiser Re'eihu, Oso Atzmis" (which generally means 'I will destroy'), based on the Pasuk (in connection with the sale of a house in a walled city "li'Tzemisus") - will be stricken with Tzara'as.
(c) And he learns this from the Targum of the Pasuk (in connection with the sale of a house in a walled city) "li'Tzemisus" - which Unklus translates as "la'Chalutin", which is the same word as the Mishnah in Megilah uses regarding a Metzora ('Ein bein ... li'Metora Muchlat').
(a) Resh Lakish explains the Pasuk "Zos Tih'yeh Toras ha'Metzora" as - 'Zos Toras Motzi-Shem-Ra' (which is synonymous with Lashon ha'Ra in this context, though normally, it refers to Lashon ha'Ra that is untrue, as we learned on the previous Amud) and which is the acronym of Metzora.
(b) Based on the Pasuk in Tehilim "Im Yishoch ha'Nachash ... ve'Ein Yisron le'Ba'al ha'Lashon", Resh Lakish describes how all the wild beasts in time to come, will ask the snake that, if a lion eats its prey alive, and a wolf tears it apart and eats it, what pleasure does it, the snake, derive from its prey. To which the snake will answer - and what does the Ba'al Lashon ha'Ra (of which he was the first) benefit from his evil speech.
(c) Based on the Pasuk in Tehilim "Satu ba'Shamayim Pihem, u'Leshonam Tihalach ba'Aretz, the same author states that someone who speaks Lashon ha'Ra - accumulates sins up to the Heaven.
(d) Whereas Rav Chisda Amar Mar Ukva says, based on the Pasuk ...
1. ... in Eichah "Tzamsu ba'Bor Chayai, Va'yadu Even bi" - that he deserves to be stoned.
2. ... in Tehilim "Meloshni be'Seiser Re'eihu Oso Atzmis, G'vah Einayim ... Oso Lo Uchal" - that Hash-m claims that He cannot reside with him in the world (as if it had written 'Ito Lo Uchal').
(e) Others associate this Pasuk - with a person who is conceited.
(a) The same author interprets the Pasuk "Chitzei Gibor Shinunim im Gachalei Resamim" as Hash-m (Gibor)'s instructions to the Angel of Gehinam to punish the Ba'al Lashon ha'Ra (Chitzei) from below (as we find in Yirmiyah "Chetz Shachut Leshonam"), even as He punishes him from above.
(b) Rebbi Chama b'Rebbi Chanina suggests as the remedy for a Ba'al Lashon ha'Ra - that if he is a Talmid-Chacham, he should increase his Torah-learning, whereas if he is an Am ha'Aretz, he should make himself humble.
(c) Rebbi Acha b'Rebbi Chanina disagrees. Based on the Pasuk in Tehilim "Yachreis Hash-m Kol Sifsei Chalakos", he argues - a Ba'al Lashon ha'Ra has no remedy, since David ha'Melech has already cut him down.
(d) He therefore amends his brother's statement - by changing the word 'remedy' to 'preventative measure'.
(a) Tana de'bei Rebbi Yishmael learns from the Pesukim: "Lashon Medaberes Gedolos" (Tehilim); "Ana Chata ha'Am ha'Zeh Chata'ah Gedolah" (in Ki Sisa, in connection with the Golden Calf); "ve'Eich E'eseh ha'Ra'ah ha'*Gedolah* ha'Zos" (in Mikeitz, in connection with the wife of Potifera's charms); "Gadol Avoni mi'Neso" (in Bereishis, in connection with Kayin's sentence for slaying Hevel) - that Lashon ha'Ra (where the Torah writes "Gedolos" in the plural) is equivalent to all three cardinal sins together (by ach of which the Torah writes "Gadol" in the singular).
(b) He knows that it is compared to all three of them, and not just two - because which one would we then leave out?
(c) In Eretz Yisrael, they declared that Lashon ha'Ra (which they referred to as 'Lashon Telisa'i', the third Lashon, because it is the third one, who reveals Reuven's secrets to Shimon [see also Tosfos DH 'Lishna Telisa'i', Maharsha and Rashash) who kills three people ...
(d) ... the speaker, the listener and the one about whom it is being said, since the latter two kill each other, and the relatives kill the speaker (though in that case, we are speaking specifically about Rechilus, where the Lashon ha'Ra concerns the listener directly).
(a) Rebbi Chama b'Rebbi Chanina learns from the Pasuk ...
1. ... in Mishlei "Ma'ves ve'Chayim be'Yad Lashon" - that just as the hand has the power to kill, so too, does the tongue.
2. ... in Yirmiyah "Chetz Shachut Leshonam" - that unlike the hand, that can only kill fro close quarters, the tongue can kill from further afield, like an arrow.
3. ... in Tehilim "Shatu ba'Shamayim Pihen, Leshonam Tihalach ba'Aretz" - that, unlike an arrow, which is restricted as to how far it can travel, the tongue is not.
(b) In spite of ...
1. ... the previous Pasuk, the Torah needs to write "Chetz Shachut Leshonam - to teach us that Lashon ha'Ra is lethal.
2. ... the previous Pasuk, we need "Ma'ves ve'Chayim be'Yad Lashon" - to teach us what Rava said - that a person can choose whether he wants to use his tongue to kill (by talking rubbish) or to revive (by studying Torah).
(a) Abaye objected to Rabah's ...
1. ... first statement that 'You'll find fire in P'loni's house' is considered Lashon ha'Ra - inasmuch as that this is a perfectly innocent piece of information, and there is no reason why this should be considered Lashon ha'Ra.
2. ... second statement that anything that is said in the presence of the person about whom he is speaking is not considered Lashon ha'Ra - inasmuch as if what he is saying about him is Lashon ha'Ra, then it is even worse, since it then constitutes Chuzpah as well.
(b) Abaye therefore amends the wording of Rabah's first statement to - 'You want to know where to find fire. Go to P'loni! You're bound to find fire there, since they are always cooking meat and fish!'
(c) With regard to Abaye's second objection, Rabah retorted that he holds like Rebbi Yossi, who testified that he had never needed to turn round to see whether P'loni was listening, before saying something about him.(Alternatively, if the person about whom he spoke confronted him, he never found it necessary to deny having said what he said, because it was never Lashon ha'Ra [either way however] ...
(d) ... Abaye maintained that - not everybody is like Rebbi Yossi]).
(e) According to Rabah bar Rav Huna, whatever has been said in front of three people is no longer subject to Lashon ha'Ra - because since the speaker made no mention of keeping it secret, and what's more, he said it in front of three people, they are bound to pass it on, and it is as if everyone already knew about it (see also Tosfos DH 'Kol Milsa').