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Lashon Harah and Shmiras Halashon-The Importance of Guarding One's Tongue- Part 3

First Posted to YouTube July 15, 2018


What have we seen so far?--let me recapitulate. If man performs appropriate acts called “mitzvos” his existence is sustained. Additionally, with the flow of kedusha--holiness which sustains his existence, he has access to the yichud--unity of the flow itself because the flow from G-D really means the “comprehension of the flow” so we can access that. The flow gives man power, the hasaga--revelation of the yichud of G-D and is able to promote it. If it increases to such an extent as a result of his mitzvos, he can actually bring down the shechina--Divine Presence itself.

We realized too the reverse of this. If man does not do mitzvos, doing instead inappropriate acts called “chata’im”--sins, then the flow, the shefa that would go to mankind, is shunted toward the Satan. He feeds off that power, off that shefa of kedusha, and he is sustained. We see now that he is more than just sustained. He gets access to the nature of the kedusha, to the nature of the flow itself, its yichud. He has access to the yichud that is enmeshed in this flow. He can deny entry of that yichud to the world or distort it, give it to the goyim, and they can become more advanced as if saying: we have the truth; you don’t. We will, therefore, persecute you which, of course, in truth, is what has been happening for a long time.

This is accompanied by the departure of the shechina--Divine Presence which must remove itself because, if Satan has power of the yichud, then the shechina, which is the greatest manifestation of yichud, must remove itself. We see that the Satan has the oz--might the hatzlacha--fortune of the shefa that comes down and that is a terrible thing for the Jews.

Inverse Relationship: Empowering the Satan

This is not a fanciful idea; the inverse relationship we have with the Satan is the true explanation for what happens in history. Every time you see goyim “go up,” you will see Jews “go down.” That’s the inverse relationship that exists between the Jew and the Satan. Whenever you see Jews advance, goyim regress. Many times, the goyim are the agents of the Satan-- not all of them--as, unfortunately, many choose evil. Therefore, the Satan has shlita--dominion over the nations.

What gives the Satan this awful power? Is it the sins of the Jews? The fact that Jews sin cannot give him power, cannot give him access to the yichud. What gives him access to all this is loshon ha’ra. Without loshon ha’ra, he can’t be “m’katreg,” prosecutorial, cannot alert the beis din--heavenly tribunal. Without beis din he cannot prove you guilty and cannot yoneg--obtain sustenance from your sin. He’s got to prove the sin was committed and he cannot do that unless he gets you in court from having spoken loshon ha’ra. It is the mishpat--judgement that gives him power because mishpat implies kitrug--prosecution from loshon ha’ra. If the Satan cannot activate mishpat, he “starves” even though you have chata’im--sins.

How do you get a kapora--atonement? Without loshon ha’ra, G-D deals with you Himself and He doesn’t have to observe the regulations of the court He created. G-D deals with you as a father does his child. He will punish you, but gradually. He’ll subject you to a few of yessurin--sufferings to awaken you to do teshuva--acts of repentance. When G-D deals with you, He will do so even if you don’t have zchusim--merits because He doesn’t have to follow the rules of the beis din. He doesn’t have a Satanic prosecutor “sitting in front of Him” demanding unika--sustenance, nourishment from you, the accused.

But, if you speak loshon ha’ra, then the Ribono Shel Olam--Master of the Universe Himself must accede to the request of the Satan and G-D must appear in court, so to speak. G-D must follow the rules He created once you drag Him into court. He has to allow the prosecutor to prosecute and if you have no merits and have not employed other defensive strategies, then woe is you! Not only can he punish you, the speaker, he can affect the one who hears the loshon ha’ra and the one who was the subject of it. We now see that he has access to the unika--the sustenance of the cheit--sin from all three.

This is why Jews have been the victims of much persecution. It’s not only because of their sins but because of the unika--nourishment that the Satan gets from the prosecutions that result from their loshon ha’ra. He can’t get access to their sins, namely, the shefa--Divine energy if they refrain from speaking loshon ha’ra. So, even if they have chata’im,--sins he is powerless, becomes impoverished, and dies. It’s amazing! It’s a mind-boggling!

This is awesome for the Jew. If none of us speak loshon ha’ra, even though we have sins, the Satan dies. If he dies, the nations grow weak and, suddenly, there’s no evil, no crime, no disease, no suffering, and there’s an enormous surge in spirituality, of truth and, of course, health and peace in the world. Besides this, there’s an enormous sense of the yichud--revelation of G-D’s unity, of the shechina, in the world. Once that’s here, we have tremendous hasaga--revelation.

If you think that this is all there is to it, you’re wrong. The question is: what does the Satan get today? I’ve talked about history, what speaking loshon ha’ra has done historically, enabling the Satan to access the kedusha, the shefa--Divine flow, the nourishment, and do what he wants with it. He conceals it, distorts it, enabling him to persecute Jews. It sounds like there’s nothing worse the Satan can do than what he’s been doing. The truth is that what he’s doing lately is much worse than what he did then. Why is that, and what has he done more recently?

Today’s Consequences Versus Those of the Previous 5000 Years

Let’s examine the true significance of loshon ha’ra’s current consequences as opposed to those of the last thousand years making those of the past pale in significance--and it’s hard to see how they can pale in comparison.

We’re now going to discuss the last thousand years which differ significantly from the previous five thousand years. There’s a strange Zohar--let’s start with that. These ideas are not generally known. Perhaps that’s an understatement. I’m speaking of this because you are going to hear, truly, what is happening. The hope that people will not speak loshon ha’ra justifies my speaking of these esoteric doctrines.

B’ita Achishena and “B’es Heh”

There’s a pasuk--verse that says, “b’ita achishena” which is famous. G-D says He will bring the messiah “b’ita”--in its time, “achishena”--I will hasten it. The Zohar says that “b’ita” means “b’es, heh”--at the time of five. It’s two words: “b’es & heh.” At the “time of five,” at the time of the year 5000, that’s when the Messianic Light will begin to come down into Creation. There’s the idea called the “ohr mashiach”--Messianic Light which speaks to what the messiah reveals. What, exactly, is he going to tell us that is so mind-boggling? That’s the “ohr mashiach.” That started coming down in 5000. We know its time because it is m’ramez--encoded in “b’es heh.”

Yom Echad--Day of One

What does all this mean? What is that “Light”? You must understand what that is. It is also called the “ohr ha’ganuz”--Hidden Light and the “ohr rishon”--First Light. What do these terms mean?

In the book of “Bereishis”/Genesis, it says that, “in the beginning, G-D created the heavens and the earth and the earth was unformed and void” and so on. Then it says that the “darkness was upon the face of the deep” and that G-D said, “Let there be light’” and, of course, “there was light” and that it was “one day.”

There is a difficulty here because, going forward, the ensuing days are enumerated as “second day,” and “third day,” and so on. Only the first day is referred to as “yom echad”--day of one. Why does the Torah change its loshon--language? Rashi explains that it says this because “day of one” saw no “living” entity that existed other than G-D. The angels were created on the second day. So, it was the “day of the One.” On the second day, the language changes to accommodate for the change of there being something other than G-D.

If we begin to look at this idea, there is a pnimius--deep, inner meaning to the “yom echad” which is incredible. Those two words tell us what the mashiach is and what he will reveal. What is “yom echad”?

If you had been around on that first day watching G-D create, you’d have observed the physical and spiritual universe but would have seen it in a very interesting way. You’d have seen how the entirety of Creation emanates from G-D. That truth would not have been concealed. You would see exactly how an ocean emanates from G-D Himself. In other words, you would see G-D as the ultimate cause of the physical and spiritual universes. You would see that He is the source of their being. You would see how He is the ultimate Master of all Creation. If He is the source, He is the Master of it too. That is why it says, “yom echad.” You would perceive that, despite the multiplicity, the myriad things He created, each and all of them would be perceived as “One,” as “Him.” You wouldn’t be fooled into thinking that these myriad things had an independent existence. On that day, you would know there is only “one” that exists. There is nothing else. That is what is meant by “day of the One.”

Ultimately, if you had been there on that day, you would also see G-D in you. The truth and the nature of your own emanation from G-D would not have been concealed from you. The Torah’s language is the code, the secretive way, G-D imparts this. You would have recognized, “ein od milvao”--besides Him there is nothing else.

On the second day, this truth was concealed. “G-D made a division between the upper and lower waters” is the introduction of the concept of “differentiation,” occluding the truth, the relationship He has with the universes. No more, would you see how you and the universe relate with G-D. This was done to give man a chance to figure out for himself what the truth is.

On that first day, G-D said “Let there be Light.” That “Light” is not photonic light. It is that ability G-D created to comprehend the truth, that He is source and Master of Creation. “Light” is a metaphor for knowledge. It’s like the saying, “I’ve seen the light.” It means that you realize what the light reveals! It reveals wisdom which is reality. G-D created the Light of the truth of “One.” The “Hidden” and “First” light is the ability to comprehend the true reality of all being as it emanates from G-D.

The first knowledge, the only knowledge, that G-D is the source of all existence, is the Light of the mashiach. The mashiach will reveal how all physical phenomena, everything we learn from science, emanates from a spiritual universe which emanates from G-D. We will see how everything is manifest in the yichud of the Ribono Shel Olam. We will no longer fool ourselves into believing that physical phenomena are governed and determined by physical principles alone.

The Creation Clock and Creation Calendar

This concealed knowledge began to come down in the year 5000. There is another concept to understand, that of the “Creation Clock.” It’s a different clock than we usually use. It says in tehillim--psalms that “a thousand years in Your eyes is as a day that passes in man’s.” One thousand years in the history of mankind is considered by G-D as one day of the week since Creation. So, the first thousand years was like the first day of Creation. The second thousand years, from man’s point-of-view, is akin to the second day from G-D’s perspective. When 5000 years had passed, it is the same as saying that five days had passed which means that, in the year 5000, began the sixth “day.”

We know that Erev Shabbat begins the sixth day and that, therefore, the preparations for Shabbos, akin to the messianic era, begin on the sixth day. Just as we begin preparing for Shabbos on Friday, G-D begins preparing for the messianic era, the Messianic Light. This is what the Zohar means by “b’es heh.”

The year 5000 corresponds to the year 1240 of the Gregorian calendar. We begin to see remarkable coincidences at that time. The kedusha--holiness that began coming down contained within it the knowledge of messianic ideas which is the yichud of G-D and how everything pertains to that yichud.

If the Jews begin getting it, not because of their mitzvos but because the time demands that it come down, what happens if the Jews sin?--the Satan! The ohr rishon begins coming down in 5000/1240 because the time dictates it, but who benefits from it? If we’re getting this Light b’es heh and we sin, the Satan is getting this First Light which is a horrendous situation. Now we begin to understand what been going on for the last thousand years.

The Zohar was “discovered” right around the time of 1240. Why? The Zohar is the metaphoric book that describes the pnimius--internal truth of the briya--Creation. The safer “Ha’Bahir” was also about the pnimius of the briya, the ohr mashiach as metaphor. It too was “discovered” at that time as predicted by the Zohar.


But the Jews are sinning so the Satan begins grabbing the Messianic Light, distorting it and giving it over to the goyim. That is why we begin, at that time, to see a tremendous advance in the wisdom and knowledge of civilization around that time of 1240. That is when Roger Bacon lived, the founder of the Scientific Method.

What is science? It is a methodology that seeks to explain physical phenomena and how it can be reduced to ultimate principles. That itself is a stupendous advancement in thinking. Hundreds of millions of different physical phenomena are not disparate and or separate from each other but are related by common ideas. The concept of “science” is that there is commonality among all physical phenomena reduced to fundamental principles. Two of these are Einstein’s E=mc2 which tells us that energy is really mass concentrated, and that all forces are, fundamentally, four.

Science is also a distortion of that principle regarding the ohr mashiach which reduces all things to the fundamental idea of yichud. Science reduces all phenomena to principles that are physical, not spiritual. What a distortion! What else can we expect from the Satan? He brings down and distorts this insight into the Scientific Method that tells us that reality has fundamental, physical principles that explain everything, not spiritual ones that emanate from G-D Himself.

So, it’s partly messianic. There’s truth that physicality has underlying principles that explain all physicality, but there’s a big sheker--lie too, that these underlying principles are physical, not spiritual. It’s messianic information that presents itself in a defiled way. It’s a distortion, a corruption. Therefore, the Satan is yoneg--sustained, nourished and, at that time when the Light starts coming down, there appears Roger Bacon and his Scientific Method.

Suddenly, there’s a race. The Light keeps coming down and a tendency to approach the pnimius of Torah more and more with the Kabbalah, the Ari, and other knowledge systems proliferates even while the Satan is continuing to nourish off the holiness he’s able to grab. It’s a race.

Incredible thing begins to happen in the year 1740/5500 which, on the Creation Calendar, is equivalent to dawn--twelve hours later--on the Creation Clock. “Daybreak” is 500 years later--dawn of the sixth day--when the Light beings to spread and manifest itself and that’s 1740. In that year, there was supposed to be a proliferation, expansion of such Light. A decision had to be made as to whom this Light would flow, predominantly. Again, this depends on the actions of the Jews.

There’s an interesting idea of the Kotzke Rebbe concerning what the Zohar says, that, during that time, there’s a great hashpo--messianic flow that was supposed to come down either to the Jews or the Gentiles. We know that, if the Jews are fulfilling the mitzvos, they get it. If they don’t, the Gentiles get it because the Satan gets it. This is why, right before 1740, you begin to see an awesome series of events that indicate, depict, the inverse relationship that we have with the Satan.

The Kmelnytski Massacres and False Messiah

Obviously, the Jews lost out because we didn’t have the ohr mashiach to the extent the goyim did. The Satan takes the oz--power that should go to the Jews and, what happens?--in 1648, there’s the Kmelnytski Massacre which destroyed a third of the Jews of Europe. Most don’t realize how devastating that was. Why? That is the oz--might, the hatzlacha--fortune that the Jews could have had but which went to the gentiles and created a stunning pogrom, the Cossack revolution. There you see the switch of the might, the power--and you should know that massacre rivaled the Holocaust in proportion to the number of Jews that lived then. Now we understand the mechanism that facilitated it.

Another phenomenon that the Satan was able to cause and which illustrates this principle was the phenomenon that occurred 1660-1670. There lived a person named Shabbtai Tzvi, the greatest force of mashiach that ever lived to that point. He was an imposter through-and-through. How did he gain such enormous influence and success? The answer is simple; the Satan gave him his success. It’s as if the Satan were saying to the Jews: you were supposed to have gotten his ohr mashiach but, instead, you’ll get a false messiah. Not only that; you are supposed to get the Light because it’s daybreak of the sixth day, the “daybreak” of Erev Shabbos, but won’t, indicating that you’ve lost that opportunity. You will get Shabbtai Tzvi instead.

And not only that; Shabbtai Tzvi converted to Islam indicating that the ohr mashiach went to the goyim. The event itself indicates the pnimius of what occurred. It’s interesting that the Shabbtai Tzvi event is what caused Jews to reject the premise of the pnimius of Torah, the Kabbalah, the hashkafa--Jewish view of the spiritual nature of Creation. They concluded that learning such content was akin to being a follower of Shabbtai Tzvi. They, themselves, rejected it, removed it!

Rejection of the Baal Shem Tov, RaMCHaL, and Chassidus

This is what created great difficulties for the Baal Shem Tov when trying to spread chassidus which, essentially, consists of ideas of hashkafa and Kabbalah. He was persecuted because, once the Satan was taking it, he had the power to influence the Jews themselves to reject the Baal Shem Tov’s teachings. This was the source of his redifus--persecution.

This is also why the RaMCHaL, Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzato, had such redifus. He too was revealing messianic ideas. His seforim--writings revealed the interpretation of the internal design of Creation. That is why he had to go through such persecution. Both of them arrived--the Baal Shem Tov to “bring down” these ideas and the RaMCHaL to elaborate and spread such ideas--and suffered due to the Satan’s access to that ohr as a result of the sins and the loshon ha’ra of the Jews.

Sir Isaac Newton, the symbol and originator of modern science, lived at the same time as Shabbtai Tzvi and the Cossack Revolution. Modern science began, in earnest, at the same time Jews suffered such terrible persecutions and setbacks with the rejections by the Jews themselves of the inner truth of the internal design of Creation. Again, we see the inverse relationship.

History is best understood when you understand the significance of the internal design because that is what moves history, not what classical historians think. It’s about the dialectic between the Jews and the Satan in terms of who gets the kedusha. It’s about who gets the ohr mashiach which is much greater than the shechina--Divine Presence. The messianic Light is the yichud of the shechina, that revelation of the Oneness of the Divine Presence that the Satan got and gave to the world as science. It’s a polluted form of truth.

Darwin, who came to the world’s attention around the year 1880, used science to distort. Since all physical phenomenon can be understood by physical principles, for what do we need G-D? Science itself promotes atheism. The Satan uses the yichud itself to distort knowledge, and science uses this knowledge to distort the truth and promote atheism. That is why there is a pasuk--verse we say in our morning prayer which speaks to this frustration: “How long will Your might, Your power, be held captive and Your chochma and tiferes--wisdom and majesty be in the hands of the enemy?” How long will G-D’s might and greatness be exploited by the Satan against us? The pasuk reveals what is going on.

That which is coming down is being converted for the Satan’s use for science. This is why there are over 7,000 scientific journal articles published daily and knowledge is doubling ever five-and-a-half years. As we get closer to 2240, when the messianic era ends, the ohr comes down in ever-greater intensity so more scientific breakthroughs and advances are being made. Such enormous rapidity of scientific progress is made that even scientists themselves can barely keep up.

They have access to the yichud of the shechina in the form of the Messianic Light.

Access to the Messianic Light, Intensification

How is this caused?--not by the sins of the Jews but by the loshon ha’ra because it is that which gives access to prosecutions and judgements. The sins themselves cannot enable the Satan to prosecute. Only the loshon ha’ra can do that. If we don’t speak loshon ha’ra, we actually usher in the Redemption. Light, coming as it must at the 6th day, would come to the Jews and empower us with wisdom and success. Until we realize this, the Satan thrives and grows in our ignorance.

Today, speaking loshon ha’ra has greater implications than just the taking of each Jew to court in heaven, forcing him to endure punishment, both him as the speaker, and he who is the listener, and he who is the individual being spoken about. It’s much worse than that. It’s not even that the Satan hides the yichud from the world and promotes evil. The last thousand years, he has access to the yichud of the shechina in the form of the Messianic Light! That’s what we’re giving him. So, if we refrain from such speech, not only does he not have access to the yichud of the shechina, he won’t have access to the yichud of the Messianic Light itself.

The Holocaust indicates the switch in the power that he has access to. Just like there’s been an intensification of science in the past 40 years, indicating an escalation of the flow, there is the idea that the Holocaust was a result of that intensification of kedusha as we get closer to the year 2240. There is more for him to distort, more to use against the Jews. This is due to loshon ha’ra.

Now that we understand this framework, we can answer all the ma’amorei chazal--statements of the sages that I brought previously.

I mentioned one chazal that says that rains are withheld because of those who speak loshon ha’ra. It also says that someone who speaks loshon ha’ra has his livelihood diminished. It makes perfect sense. Why is it that livelihood would be diminished? What is livelihood? It is that from which our nourishment is derived. If you speak loshon ha’ra, the Satan has access to kitrug, can haul is into court, and derives that nourishment from the judgement against you. If the Satan eats, we starve. Therefore, rains are withheld and our livelihood is diminished and he is being fed, not us. It’s justice, mida-k’neged-mida---measure-for-measure. It’s a perfectly-balanced equation.

We also understand why somebody speaking loshon ha’ra does not receive the shechina. If you speak loshon ha’ra and you’re hauled into court, it’s not the fact of your being judged that’s the punishment. It’s the second dimension that explains it. It’s the nourishment he gets which gives him the power to conceal the yichud of the shechina. So, mida-k’neged-mida, you will not “see” the yichud of the shechina having allowed him to remove it. As such you will not be meritorious to be privy to it.

Once you understand the second dimension, the chazal are simple to understand.

Another chazal attributes to G-D the statement that, regarding whoever speaks loshon ha’ra: “I and he cannot live in the same world.” Of course not! If the Satan gets the nourishment when loshon ha’ra gives him access to prosecute in court, he can remove Me from the world. You are enabling him to push Me out of the world, G-d is saying.

Another chazal says that anybody speaking loshon ha’ra removes the shechina from “m’l’mata l’mala”--from the lower world to the higher world. Your connection to G-D is removed if the kedusha that is coming to you is the same as the shechina’s which must be removed as a result of your revealed sins, revealed by your loshon ha’ra. When the yichud is concealed, the shechina departs.

G-D says that, because of your sins revealed by your loshon ha’ra: I have removed My shechina because you’ve given the Satan power to conceal it but, in the future, when I will take away the yetzer ha’ra--evil inclination, you’ll no longer be compelled to speak loshon ha’ra. As a result, I’ll return My shechina because, of course, there will no longer be anything concealing it.

We now also understand how loshon ha’ra creates a defect in the kisei ha’kovod--G-D’s throne of glory. Since the Satan can access the yichud of the shechina due to your deeds, the defects caused by such actions go all the way “up” to the Divine throne, That’s how much power you give the Satan to access the yichud in the form of the ohr rishon--First Light.

We can also understand why the Vilna Gaon says, in the name of the midrash, what the midrash means. He says that, for every moment that you forego speaking loshon ha’ra, you will receive the ohr ha’ganuz--concealed Light that no malach--angel has ever seen. What does that mean? Especially in the last thousand years, since he is taking the ohr rishon, if you don’t let him get it, you will get it. During the last thousand years--actually longer than that--the Satan has been taking it and utilizing it. If you refrain from speaking loshon ha’ra, you will get that which no angel can comprehend.

This is the principle that underlies the destruction of the Temple. Since the Satan had the yichud of the shechina, he was able to conceal the Presence of G-D to the extent that G-D could say: I must destroy My Temple and leave. So, it was destroyed.

We also understand why the speaking of loshon ha’ra is a denial of the belief in G-D because it permits the Satan to promotes concealment of the Oneness of G-D in Creation. When that happens, it promotes atheism and all kinds of evil, ideas which contradict the existence of G-D. Even though you, yourself, are not doing so, your loshon ha’ra allows for situations in the world which clearly promote ideas that deny G-D’s existence. It is as if you don’t believe in G-D.

Chazal say, “G-D said, ‘let the snake who was the first to speak loshon ha’ra wait upon your loshon ha’ra in order to exact his sustenance’.” The midrash says this openly.

The last chazal I’ll mention is learnt in a different way. Our sages say that many people commit robbery, theft, because they tend to rationalize, justify it. Someone committing such crime might say that his boss won’t know or that his employer owes him anyway, and so on. A minority transgress sins of immorality such as adultery, incest, because they know it’s sinful.

Everyone gets caught in loshon ha’ra because, so it seems, it’s so easy to commit. Everyone does it. The truth is, if you think about this chazal in its pnimius--deeper meaning it has another meaning. Why does everyone transgress this prohibition of loshon ha’ra? Since it is the only way the Satan can prosecute you for your sins, the Satan will make sure that you transgress. He has no choice. Our failure isn’t due to the sin being easy to commit; that’s a superficial understanding. The Satan works overtime. The only way the Satan has access to your sins and his potential “nourishment,” is to get you to speak loshon ha’ra. It’s his meal. If he doesn’t “eat,” he shrivels up. It is the only way the Satan can survive. Every strategy that he can think of he will employ to get you to speak loshon ha’ra. He makes it his business to get everyone to do it.

The gematria--numerological value of “baal loshon ha’ra”--he who speaks loshon ha’ra is equal to “ayn mekabel pnei ha’shechina”--not receiving the face of the Divine Presence because that Divine Presence is what the Satan drove from you as a result of the inverse relationship. This gematria reveals the second dimension.

Another numerological equivalent to “baal loshon ha’ra” is that of “ha’nachash of Adam v’Chava-- the snake of Adam and Chava. You arouse the primordial snake to prosecution when you speak loshon ha’ra. The gematria itself reveals the truth of both.

What do we take away from this learning? There are two ways G-D deals with your sins. If you speak loshon ha’ra then you must go through mishpat--judgement and the Satan has access to your sins for the purpose of prosecution. You must stand trial. The Satan doesn’t do it merely to entice you in order to punish you, which happens anyway. He does it for his own survival. If we refrain, he dies even if we have chata’im--sins.

In today’s world, what he’s getting is the ohr mashiach. That is why science proliferates to such an enormous extent and why the Holocaust was enabled to occur. This is why it is so urgent to refrain from loshon ha’ra.

I’ve spoken of many ideas that most people have never heard of. The reason the Satan is winning and dancing on our heads is because we are ignorant of the consequences of speaking loshon ha’ra, ignorant of what it does for him. It is time that Jews understood and were not afraid to look at the pnimius of Torah, at the internal design of Creation. Don’t run away from these ideas. Ignorance means death, your death. That is exactly what happened to Jews in the last thousand years. Your knowledge translates to his death. You cannot run away. You must know these ideas and review them a thousand times to avoid loshon ha’ra. The benefits of shmiras ha’loshon--guarding one’s tongue are not only those from avoiding judgement as the carrier. You can avoid judgement as the listener, or as a subject of defamation; you won’t suffer the scrutiny of he who has ayin ha’ra--evil eye cast upon him. You will save the world, will bring back the shechina, bring back the ohr mashiach to the Jews instead allowing the Satan to get it.


I’d like, now, to go into a very strange area, that portion of the Torah that speaks about nego’im--afflictions or tzaras. In the Torah portion “Vayikra” it talks about what, seemingly, is some kind of disease called “tzaras.” It is important to know that tzaras is not, truly, a physical disease. It wasn’t an actual clinical pathology but rather a kind of skin discoloration, some kind of unnatural skin condition in which the skin assumed various unnatural shades of color. If you had this, it was a symptom of tzaras.

If you had it, were a metzora--someone afflicted with tzaras, you were rendered tameh--defiled, spiritually unclean, not physically unclean. You could defile, or make spiritually unclean, other people, vessels, food or drink were you to touch them. As a metzora, you could not come in contact with anything holy. For instance, you could not eat of sacrifices offered in the Temple or even walk into the Temple. This is the practical application were you a metzora.

One of the peculiarities of the written material about the metzora is that it simulates, in some ways, the treatment of a leper. Because the metzora had to be isolated from society, had to be isolated outside of the camp of Israel, English translations of the Torah refer to tzaras as “leprosy,” but that is a incorrect. English translations confuse tzaras with leprosy because the practices of treating the leper with quarantine and isolation resemble the treatment of a metzora.Neged tzaras” is better understood as an affliction of a different kind.

What exactly does Torah indicate about tzaras? Let’s look at various statements from our sages. We will see that tzaras is very mystical. Anyone who speaks loshon ha’ra is the recipient of nego’im--afflictions, a general term for tzaras.

Another chazal instructs that the verse that reads,“This will be the law of the metzora,” should not be read as the law of the “metzora” but as “metishema,” a kind of play on the word “metzora.” The term “metishema” is someone who issues a false report on someone. In other words, he who speaks loshon ha’ra is someone issuing a false report. According to this chazal, the connection between loshon ha’ra and tzaras is biblical. The Torah alludes to the fact that he who speaks loshon ha’ra gets tzaras.

The question we must ask is: what is the connection? Why is it that, if you speak loshon ha’ra, one becomes afflicted with tzaras? What does one have to do with the other? The second question is based on the saying that, anybody who speaks loshon ha’ra,nego’im bo im olov,the affliction “descends” or “comes upon” him. Why not just say that he will be punished with, or suffer from, tzaras? It’s an unusual expression.

Tzaras of the Snake and the Soul

There’s another chazal that is extremely mystical and hard to make sense of. It says in midrash “Tanchuma” that the “nachash kadmoni”--primeval snake, that which enticed Adam and Chava, spoke loshon ha’ra against G-D. How so? It enticed Adam and Chava with the argument that

G-D got his powers from the tree which is why G-D doesn’t want them to eat from the tree to challenge His power. Of course, this was a lie and the snake was defaming and denigrating G-D. The midrash says that, because of this loshon ha’ra against G-D, the snake became afflicted with tzaras. That’s an incredible statement.

The reason it’s hard to believe is because tzaras only afflicts human beings, houses, and clothing. How in the world is it possible that a snake gets it? The second question regards the nature of the nachash kadmoni which was the yetzer ha’ra--evil inclination itself! How can the yetzer ha’ra get tzaras? Is the evil inclination itself punished? We should begin to wonder how tzaras can manifest on the snake. Obviously, chazal are aware of a connection which is totally removed, concealed from us. They understood the pnimius of tzaras because they understood the pnimius of loshon ha’ra. They made a connection between the two.

In “Mishlei”--Proverbs, it says, “One who guards his tongue from speaking loshon ha’ra guards himself against troubles that will come upon him.” But then we are told to understand it differently. We’re told to understand the pasuk as: “He who guards himself by not speaking loshon ha’ra, prevents the occurance of tzaras on his soul.” On his soul? We expect it to mean that we are to prevent tzaras from afflicting one’s body because it was an affliction of the flesh. What kind of tzaras lies on the soul?

We begin to see that chazal are challenging to understand and connect ideas into a framework we are not aware of.

TIgbores Ha’Ra--Proliferation of Evil

We know that the sins a Jew can be prosecuted for as a result of his loshon ha’ra causes, in the wider sphere, tigbores ha’ra--proliferation of evil, particularly in recent times, concealing the Oneness of G-D, removing the Divine Presence or distorting it and the Messianic Light.

What exactly were the effects, the consequence, of tigbores ha’ra? The Satan was able to issue forth a great amount of tumah--defilement and zoama--pollution, degradation. The two terms are similar. This means that the Satan was able to surround the soul of a person with these. What is “zoama”? It’s like a venom that can pervade you. It can control you. It’s like an octopus with its tentacles that can be extended to control what is within its reach. The Satan was able to send out its “tentacles” of zoama, of tumah to surround your nefesh--animal soul to control you. The control manifests in various ways. Your drives for pleasure. or whatever, grow worse. The Satan is able to enhance your weakness to temptation. The worse thing he could do was occlude, withhold, the kedusha, the yichud which would have come upon you. This is the mechanism that causes proliferation of evil.

Existential States of Evil and Its Kingdoms

Tigbores ha’ra, via the Satan’s efforts, generates four existential states of evil:

1- Confusion: a mixture of good and evil existing simultaneously in the same environment so it is hard to distinguish between them

2- Devoid of Good: evil existing totally devoid of good

3- Alternative Rational System: rational philosophical system justifying evil

4- Rational System Pervading the World: Framework of the alternative rational system intensifies, proliferates, no longer locally restricted. It becomes international, encompassing the entire world.

Those are the four states of evil that you can create by means of loshon ha’ra when your sins can be scrutinized for judgement. The Torah alludes to these four states. Where do we see this?

It says, “In the beginning G-D created the heavens and earth” and then it speaks of the “tohu v’vahu,“ of “choshech,” and “tehom.” The earth is the world of the Satan:

1- “tohu”--chaos is the confusion of mixture, the inability to discern one from the other. It refers to the admixture of good and evil, its extant simultaneity inducing confusion.

2- “vohu”--emptiness is a reality devoid of good so evil predominates

3- “choshech”--darkness is the rational system justifying evil and opposed to the Light of yichud

4- “tehom”--the great abyss, an oceanic expanse is the rational system pervading everything

These four biblical terms refer to the four levels of reality of the Satan, the four existential states of evil.

There’s an interesting midrash which says that each of these states of evil which are represented in Bereishis/Genesis is associated a kingdom, a level of delusion which pervaded that nation. They are:

1- Babylon is the expression of “tohu,” that mixture of good and evil. Babylon was inclined toward spirituality but believed in many deities rather than one G-D. They practiced avodah zara--idolatry and were steeped in magic. They harbored some truth about a universe beyond the physical but their universe was inhabited by a pantheon of gods. They were spiritual and idolatrous at the same time.

2- Persia/Poras is known for its enormous love of physicality and absence of any reality of

G-D. It is “vohu.” There was no spirituality there. Haman and Achashverosh wanted to destroy the Jews totally. It is the epitome of “emptiness.”

3- Greece is “choshech,” the alternative system as best conveyed by its philosophers and scientists. Theirs was a system of logic providing a fundamental basis to explain why the ultimate cause of the universe is physical, not spiritual. It stands in opposition, in “darkness,” to the Messianic Light.

4- Rome adopted the ideology of Greece and spread it throughout the world so it is the manifestation of “tehom.” Rome didn’t innovate; it was the bearer of Greek civilization, spreading Greek’s philosophical system.

How were these four kingdoms, representing the four existential states of evil, created? They were generated through the sins of the Jews as revealed when they spoke loshon ha’ra. The Satan had access to their sins as a result of their loshon ha’ra so was able to grow, to perpetuate and strengthen the tigboras ha’ra. That growth manifested itself in the four existential states of evil and each state was “given” to one empire. Jews, themselves, created, through their loshon ha’ra, the means to enable the Satan to access their sins, the holiness of their sins, to create these empires. It was then the task of the Jews to remove this kedusha--holiness that the Satan had and bring it back to the Jews. How?

To do this, they had to go into these four empires, reside in them and remain righteous. To do so was to regain the kedusha, weaken the empires’ power of evil so that it withered and died. This is why these powerful empires disappeared. The Jews remained righteous or suffered at the hands of these empires, removing the kedusha the Satan was able to utilize. That kedusha Satan controlled enabling him to distort the yichud was taken back by the Jews so that these empires, these existential states of evil were obliterated. The Divine flow of power came back to the Jews and back to the world.

This is the secret of galus--exile.

We now understand:

1- Loshon ha’ra causes zoama to envelop the soul of the individual proportionate to the tigboras ha’ra that the individual created from his loshon ha’ra. The quantity and the quality of the zoama is proportional to the proliferation of evil a person’s loshon ha’ra caused.

2- Loshon h’ara, through empowering the Satan, creates existential states of evil, the proliferation of evil in the world.

G-D performed a tremendous chesed--act of mercy, compassion. How would a person know the consequences of his loshon ha’ra which he created? How would he know its effects, what kind of existential stated he created? Since the zoama, qualitatively and quantitatively, is proportionate to the tigbores ha’ra, G-d created a physical indicator, a sign, a “barometer” so that the proliferation of evil a person created will be revealed to him. Even more amazing is that the kind of tigbores ha’ra he created will also be revealed to him and, therefore, he can do teshuva--repentance. That is the secret of the negoi’im--afflictions, the secret of tzaras.

Why did G-D create such an indicator? Only loshon ha’ra allows the kitrug to occur which empowers the Satan. Without loshon ha’ra, even if a person has thousands of sins, there’s no kitrug, no accusation, no judgment, no nourishment to the Satan and, consequently, no growth to his power to promote the hester yichudo--concealment of the Oneness of G-D, the true definition of evil. In light of this, loshon ha’ra is the worst sin you can commit. This is why a unique physical indicator is provided, so a person can repent to undo, or at least halt, that which allows evil to grow.

We now understand the strange midrash which speaks to the four expressions used in the Torah referring to negoi’im and tzaras:s’es”--Babylon, “s’pahas”--Persia, “b’heres”--Greece, “neged tzaras”--Rome/Western Civilization.

The kind of affliction found on one’s skin indicated, reflected, represented, a particular existential state of evil as that which dominated each of the kingdoms and which the individual’s loshon ha’ra unleashed. This is why, when the midrash says that each affliction is comparable to one of the empires, it really means that each kind of affliction truly represents one particular existential state of evil.

When a kohen--priest examined the affliction on a person, he could see two things:

1- that the person spoke loshon ha’ra creating an enormous tigbores ha’ra and…

2- which existential state of evil his loshon ha’ra had promoted

Both ideas were revealed by the physical indicator of the tzaras. This conceptual understanding of tzaras answers the former questions:

1- What was the connection, or relationship, between loshon ha’ra and nego’im?

Loshon ha’ra permits the kitrug, the accusation, which invokes judgment which nourishes the Satan if the person is found guilty. If so, this generates the tigbores ha’ra which envelops and surrounds the nefesh of the individual who spoke it. In other words, the nefesh is enveloped and surrounded with zoama, with tumah--defilement manifest as tzaras. Speaking loshon ha’ra ultimately leads to tzaras.

2- Why is the appearance of the affliction described with the language: “comes upon him”? What does this language signify?

Nego’im is a natural part of the sequence once a person speaks loshon ha’ra. It is not some kind of external punishment. It comes naturally and automatically upon a person when he speaks loshon ha’ra.

3- Why do we read that “he who guards his tongue guards himself from trouble” but are told it should be read, instead, as “guards his soul from tzaras”?

Loshon ha’ra creates the tigboros ha’ra which manifests itself as tzaras on the soul before it manifests itself on the body as nego’im.

4- Why does a midrash say that the snake got tzaras from loshon ha’ra?

This doesn’t mean that the snake, literally, got tzaras which only occurs on clothing, houses or men. The phenomenon of a physical indicator would now be applied to tigbores ha’ra itself as it relates to the Satan’s power thus revealing to a person the consequences of his loshon ha’ra so he could repent. The evil power of the Satan would be exposed to the one who generated it through his loshon ha’ra. He could then repent, destroying the Satan instead of promoting his longevity.

It's interesting to note that the Hebrew letters of tzaras: “tzdik”-“resh”-“ayin”-“tav” are really a combination of two Hebrew words: “yotzas”--to kindle fire, and “ra”--evil. Thus, he who “kindles fire” gets the repercussions of his act by getting the physical indicator, the tzaras.

The word “metzora,” the person who has the tzaras, is also a contraction of two Hebrew words, “motze ra”--in whom evil was found.

It is also interesting to note that the gematria--numerological equivalent of the Hebrew words “baal loshon ha’ra”--a consistent speaker of loshon ha’ra is the same value as “ha’nachash metzera,” the “metzera” spelled without the letter “vav.” That is because the one who speaks it arouses the snake/Satan to accusation.

Also interesting about the term “baal loshon ha’ra” is its numerical equivalent to the phrase, “briyas ha’ra”--creation of evil.


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