Basic Principle: Measure-for-Measure
Let's assume a person speaks loshon ha’ra which, suddenly, invokes the court proceedings against him because of the principle of midah k’neged midah-- measure for measure. In other words, you invoke court proceedings not because of the sin of loshon ha’ra itself. Self-defense is not due to your merit--for instance, the merit of having shown compassion. It’s the principle of the mida k’neged mida. It’s the same idea with loshon ha’ra. You bad-mouth somebody else so he immediately bad-mouths you. He has permission to do that when you speak loshon ha’ra. This is what we see and is very important to understand.
You must distinguish between these: the sin of loshon ha’ra and the consequences of loshon ha’ra which are far worse than the sin itself; it’s a very important idea.
Who does the m’katreg--prosecutor, the Satan, have permission to haul into court?
The three people are:
● the mesaber--speaker: the one who talks loshon ha’ra. You talk loshon ha’ra therefore the Satan can talk loshon ha’ra about you, prosecute you.
● the shomea--listener: the one who is receiving, hearing the loshon ha’ra. Since you are listening to loshon ha’ra, G-D says: I will listen to the loshon ha’ra of the Satan.
● The subject of the loshon ha’ra is hauled into the court, the person that is spoken about.
Now you'll ask me: why? I can understand the one who sends the message, the speaker, and even the one who hears it because he is listening. But what about the guy they're talking about? Why should he get shlepped--dragged into court?
Ayin Ha’Ra--Evil Eye
It’s because of another fundamental conceptual area called “ayin hara”--evil eye. It’s not just a religious term, nor just an interesting or cute idea. It's not voodoo. What is an ayin ha’ra? G-D gave the ability of one Jew to drag another Jew into court. Every Jew has such an awesome connection to all the spiritual worlds above him that, if he wants, he could drag himself into the court by loshon ha’ra, and drag other Jews into court also. How?
Every Jew is responsible for every other Jew. “Kol Yisrael areivim ze b’ze”--each Jew is responsible for every other Jew. We are inter-connected though we don’t see the connection.
One Jew says to another Jew, “Where did he (a third-party) get this new car, a $50,000 car? Where did he get this kind of money?”
The other Jew says, “You know where he gets this kind of money? He’s a thief, you know, a gonif---thief (Yiddish). This is pure loshon ha’ra.
The speaker gets called into court, the guy who listened gets called into court, and the guy who bought the car, the guy they talked about--the subject--gets hauled into court because of ayin ha’ra. If a Jew looks at your circumstance, your belongings, and is jealous of what you have, what is that reaction saying? In effect, he means: you don't deserve this! Why should you have it? He, then, has the ability to invoke justice against you and then you get called to the court. If a Jew is jealous of you and he gives you what is called “ayin ha’ra,” he has the ability to call you to court where you are judged.
If that person was able to get the money to buy the car because G-D was kind to him and gave him money--even though he didn't deserve it--what happens now? Once he gets called to the court and he doesn't have merit to keep that car, he will lose it. In other words, if he's got the zchusim--merits to hold on to what he's got, he will retain it and the other person's jealousy and what it expresses will have no effect. However, if he does not have the merit to have earned that thing, he will lose that thing.
When somebody gives you an “evil eye,” it doesn't mean that he can damage you; he can't, but he can invoke the judgement against you so that, if you don’t have the merit, you'll lose what he is after. In that way, he can damage you by calling you into court; that’s how he can, potentially, damage you. Of course, you have to win the case on your own merits. That is called “ayin ha’ra”--evil eye.
That's why the chazal mean when they say, ”ayzeh davar matzliach davar mustar me’ayin”--what things are successful?--those things that are hidden from the eye. The chazal--sages say that. In other words, if you want to engage in an enterprise--any endeavor--and you want to make sure you’re not going to lose it, don’t tell people about it, not because they won't speak loshon ha’ra but because, as soon as they even look at you and jealousy arises, you, automatically, get called into court.
One of the most common ways that a person gives another person ayin ha’ra is through loshon ha’ra. When a person says loshon ha’ra about you, what he's really doing is giving you an ayin ha’ra. What he means is: why does this guy deserve what he's getting? Loshon ha’ra is one of the most frequently used instruments for this concept called “ayin ha’ra.” That is why the subject of such defamation or jealousy gets dragged into court.
How does one protect oneself? The answer is simple. If you do not speak loshon ha’ra, the Satan cannot m’katreg--prosecute against you; he is powerless to do anything against you. G-D can attest: this Jew doesn't badmouth or speak derogatorily about others, does not cause damage to others, therefore, you (Satan) cannot speak derogatorily against him, prosecute him, cause damage to him. Since he does not listen to loshon ha’ra, I will not listen to prosecution against him.
What happens if two people speak loshon ha’ra about you? G-D will argue: I refuse to hear loshon ha’ra about him. This person was the subject of those two Jews’ conversation, yes, but since he does not speak loshon ha’ra, I cannot listen to loshon ha’ra about him.
If you want to protect yourself from an ayin ha’ra don't speak loshon ha’ra. If you don't speak it or listen to loshon ha’ra, you’ll never get called into court. It’s the same principle operating that makes you ineligible from being called to court. Don't speak loshon ha’ra and don't listen to loshon ha’ra! Such avoidance assures that G-D will not be listening to the loshon ha’ra, the prosecutorial attempt of Satan against you. That's how you protect yourself.
What we begin to see is that shmiras ha’lashon-- guarding one’s tongue denies access to court proceedings. It’s the greatest strategy--second only to not sinning and having to repent--known to man. The chesed--kindness that G-D did is that He made you responsible for the very trial proceedings against you. If you are called to the court, if you are put on the court calendar, it is your fault, nobody else's. This is what we see.
Then, what happens? If somebody does not speak loshon ha’ra, he will never go to trial? Imagine that a guy never speaks loshon ha’ra. Does that mean he will never be called to the beit din--(heavenly) court? Does that mean he'll go scot-free? How can that be? You just finished saying that G-D cannot forgo sin so could you imagine this guy having a million sins to his name but, because he never spoke loshon ha’ra, there's to be no kitrug--prosecution against him? He's not going to be tried? How can that be if G-D does not forego sin?
Mishpat Versus Din: Judgement Versus Justice
There are two ways that justice is done. In other words, there is a difference between the concept of “justice”--mishpat and the concept of “din.” “Mishpat” is judgement. “Din” is justice. These are two different ideas. If you want to make sure that your sins will be atoned for through the beit din, then speak loshon ha’ra. When they get a hold of you, it's bad news because, if you don't have merits, they must follow the judicial protocol, the rules and regulations. If you deserve a punishment, they will give it to you.
If you get judged by G-D, you never get called to the court because you didn't speak loshon ha’ra nor listened to loshon ha’ra. What does that mean? That means you never get “caught” by the court. How are you going to atone for your sins? G-D is not going to overlook them.
The answer is simple. G-D is going to bring punishment on you but since G-D does not look at these punishments in a courtroom, He can judge them Himself without being subjected to the rules and regulations of court. He can do whatever He wants even though you have no merit whatsoever. He can judge you based on His kindness; He needn’t “submit” to the court.
If you speak loshon ha’ra, invoking the prosecutorial action, you are judged regarding your sins according to the protocol in which G-D Himself submits to the judicial rules and regulations, because that is what He decreed. If there is a trial, this is what happens. In this case, if you're not merachem, showing pity (to others), then the court is not merachem with you. For that, you've got to have merits. Therefore, G-D must follow the system. He voluntarily subjected Himself to the system of justice, of trial.
If you don’t get called to trial, G-D can deal with you with what's called “hanhagas ha’yichud,”--the way He wants to deal with you. In that case, having no merit is not a criterion or a deciding factor; in the end, you will have atoned. The consequence could be spread out over years or the damage could come to your property and not your body. It’s decidedly less severe. He can do whatever He wants because He doesn't have to answer to a prosecutor saying that this man deserves such and such.
So, if you want to submit to trial by court, speak loshon ha’ra, but you’d better hope you have merits, those traits that can benefit you when midah-k’neged-mida is enjoined.
If you want to submit, not to the trial but to the Judge, to meet with Him in private so that He could do what He does not having to entertain the system itself, then just make sure you don't speak loshon ha’ra! Then, G-D will judge you because you cannot earn Olam Ha’ba--Future World without doing something about your sins. But with G-D, it’s a whole different treatment, a gentler one. G-D handles it in a kinder way. He waits for you to do teshuva--repentance or He sends you a little punishment and a little yissurim--suffering so you get the message and do teshuva so He never has to send you the rest. He deals with you as your personal Judge, not as a judge in trial; that is the enormous difference.
Therefore, what do we see? It's up to you! “Mishpat” means you get judged by trial. “Din” means you get judged by G-D, a process devoid of the need to consider the rules and regulations of court. It's up to you. It’s an incredible idea.
Do you wonder why Jews are having so many problems today? Imagine calling up the D.A., the district attorney, and saying, “By the way, I just stole from this man's store. Will you come and arrest me?” That's exactly what you do when you speak loshon ha’ra! It’s as if you were making a private meeting with the mekatreg--prosecutor, the Satan, and proposing, “Hey! Would you like to prosecute me on my record of sins?” That's exactly what you're doing when you speak or listen to loshon ha’ra; that's suicide! What man in his right mind would do that? It's like washing your dirty laundry in public. Why would you want to do this? Why disclose, display all your sins before the prosecutor himself? It's like meeting with the D.A. and encouraging him, “Go ahead! Have a field day with me!” You’re informing the Satan of all your chata’im--sins. That's suicide! What else can I call it?
When Jews speak loshon ha’ra against each other, each Jew is dragging every other Jew into court. For example, during one phone conversation, one guy has bad-mouthed at least fifteen people, has dragged, not only himself, but all those fifteen and all the people they've spoken about into court. One Jew can initiate court proceedings against one hundred people in one day. Could you imagine! That’s coming from just one Jew! Want to multiply that by all the Jews speaking loshon ha’ra? Is it any wonder what's happening? It comes out that Jews are in court all day. That's what's happening! Could you imagine spending the rest of your life in court, every single day? You would commit suicide; you could never endure such trauma. Imagine what it is to be on trial every day of your life! It's horrendous, but that's what's happening. It’s mesira--act of informing, on yourself, the listener, and the recipient of the criticism. There are millions doing this. Imagine what this does to Yisrael!
Can you imagine what's happening to Israel? It is the loshon ha’ra that you speak that forces the judgement, the mishpat against Jews. That is why there is so much tzurus--misfortune and why you find so many people dying young, find parents with children led into a life of drug dependence, with crime, fine businesses failing, people suffering financial loss. It’s why there are so many problems within families, between parents and children, so many divorces. It's not because of the cheit-sin itself; it's the loshon ha’ra that exposes the sin. Remember! You could have a million sins but, if the Satan, the prime prosecutor, cannot access them through loshon ha’ra, he has no access to mishpat, to judgement, and you are judged by G-D.
That’s why Jews have such enormous problems. It's very simple; don't speak loshon ha’ra and you will live a great life. Speak loshon ha’ra and woe will be upon you.
Putting it Together
Now that we understand this framework, let's go back to the chazal to see how every single chazal, every single statement of the Gemara and the midrash--exegetical commentary, how the pasuk--verse that I mentioned makes incredibly beautiful sense because now you have the key.
Let's take a look. First of all, do we understand now why there are thirty-one commandments associated with loshon ha’ra? Why does G-D hate somebody who speaks loshon ha’ra? It’s not because of the sin of not guarding one’s tongue. It’s because the sin opens the door for the Satan to drag you, the recipient, and the one you spoke about into court where the Satan has access to all the sins of all three. That is why G-D hates it so much, enough to have enumerated thirty-one commandments that are, directly or indirectly, associated with loshon ha’ra.
It makes perfect sense.
Also, that is why somebody who refrains from speaking loshon ha’ra lives a long time. They are protected from tzurus, from misfortune, from tragedy. Why do people die? When loshon ha’ra activates the judgement against them and they are found guilty, the great suffering brought upon them, many times, brings about death based on the sins that they have. If a person guards his tongue, he never gets called to trial and lives a long, long time. Not only is it long, but it's relatively tranquil. The connection between the guarding of one’s tongue, and longevity, is very simple to understand. Don't speak loshon ha’ra and you won’t get judged and, therefore, won’t be judged in court. If you do get punished, it's by G-D, not by trial.
That is why the Gemara says, “You want life?--don't speak loshon ha’ra” because there’ll be no kitrug against you. Only G-D will judge you, not your prosecutor, the Satan. You want death? Speak loshon ha’ra, literally. You want death? Speak loshon ha’ra so the Satan has access to every cheit you do. We understand; it's very simple.
That is why it says that whoever does not speak loshon ha’ra has no tzarah--trouble.
That's what G-D says. If you do not speak loshon ha’ra, I can save you from every tzarah but, if you open up your mouth, forget it. If you refrain, I, Myself can deal with you; it's between Me and you, not between Me, you, and the Satan. I can save you from any tzarah, any tragedy or distress and, if I do bring something on you, it would be very gentle. If you speak loshon ha’ra I cannot help you because I’m forced to submit to the very system that I activated in Creation, the system of justice which says that man must earn his Olam Ha’ba.
We also understand why a person, even if he worships idols, is not judged. There's no kitrug, no accusatory voice in the heavenly court, and nobody falls. That is why, in the generation of Achov, nobody fell. The Satan had no access to their sins though they were full of avodah zara--idol worship whereas the generation of Shaul, since they spoke loshon ha’ra, and, of course, had sins, fell. They fell despite the enormous spiritual level they’d attained. Since the Satan had access to their sins, he could facilitate their destruction through war. That is why they fell in battle.
We also understand another chazal. Why is it that the greatest sin is loshon ha’ra? It's not the idea of “loshon ha’ra” being so severe in, and of, itself. It’s the arousal of the kitrug it enables. That is why the greatest sin that you could do is loshon ha’ra. We understand why loshon ha’ra isa greater sin than idol worship, greater than gilui arayos--adultery, incest, sexual immorality and even greater than shevichas domim--spilling of blood, murder. Again, loshon ha’ra is not worse than these; it’s only a mazik--that which causes damage. What can these three sins do to you? They can serve as tremendous transgressions that, if you get called to trial, they will stand against you. As long as you don't speak loshon ha’ra, those sins cannot touch you. Speak loshon ha’ra and these can immediately be used against you. That is why loshon ha’ra is worse. That which gives the Satan access to accusation and prosecution is much worse than the sin you committed, even if it be those three sins.
We now understand beautifully what chazal say and why it says that “anybody who speaks loshon ha’ra magnifies the sin up to heaven.” Of course! That’s because loshon ha’ra not only damages somebody “here.” It creates enormous consequences, metaphysical consequences, because you've given the Satan access to your sins to prosecute you in shamayim--above.
And now we also understand Moshe Rabbeinu when he said that he knew that the Jews worship Idols but that it didn’t explain why they were suffering so much. He claimed they didn’t speak loshon ha’ra but, when he went out among the Jews and he heard the loshon ha’ra that one Jew would say, even if it would destroy him, he understood something. Imagine a Jew informing the Pharaoh that Moshe killed an Egyptian, did it as a favor. It was then that Moshe realized, “achen noda ha’davar”--surely the matter is known. The regular pshat--literal meaning of “achen noda ha’davar” is: surely the thing will be known to Pharaoh. But the deeper meaning is: now the matter is known to me why they suffer so much, because they speak loshon ha’ra.
The fact that they worshipped idols would have never been known to heaven had they refrained from speaking loshon ha’ra. Having been exposed to their denigrating speech, the matter of their serving idols became known, but not to Pharoah nor Moshe alone, but known to the heavenly prosecutor!
Therefore, we understand why the decree against the Jews was fulfilled, only because of the last test, that of the meraglim--spies. As long as they didn't speak loshon ha’ra even if they failed nine times, they couldn’t be judged. As soon as they started speaking loshon ha’ra, the Satan had access to all the sins of Israel because all Israel listened to the meraglim who uttered the loshon ha’ra which circulated throughout Israel, they who were the shoma’im--the hearers. That's why the incident with these meraglim was so bad. Once they all listened to the meraglim, the decree was confirmed that they must all die; now we fully understand why.
The last chazal is about why the temple was destroyed. The answer is obvious. The temple was destroyed even though they had reached, and mastered, great spiritual heights. Once they spoke loshon ha’ra, their sins were exposed and showed themselves to be great enough to destroy them.
There's a chazal that asks: why was Jerusalem destroyed too? Why was the Temple destroyed? In their defense, it says, “b’dor zeh hem hayu me’od machmir al divrei torah”--the generation were very exacting in matters of Torah. If you owed them something, they wanted it. They would not overlook any injury, any type of outlaw behavior, any kind of harm you did them; that's what it says.
What revealed to the Satan their sins was due to their loshon ha’ra. Kitrug was initiated. But maybe they could stop the destruction of the Temple by having overlooked the sins of others. Doing so would prompt G-D to overlook their sins. But since they held others strictly accountable for what had been done to them, G-D held them accountable. They couldn't interface to enact the strategy of making a motion for dismissal. That's why there are two chazal about how they couldn't intervene in the proceedings either way, couldn't stop the prosecutorial process. They spoke loshon ha’ra. They couldn't make a motion for dismissal because they, themselves, had been rigid. You did wrong to me so I’m going after you, was their posture. They pursued a wrong-doer, rightfully, but since they were so punitive, they couldn't make a motion for dismissal. The court was punitive with them.
That's why there are two chazal saying the same thing. It seems a contradiction. Was the Temple destroyed because they spoke loshon ha’ra or because they exacted justice too punitively, too relentlessly? What does one have to do with the other? Which is it?
It’s a beautiful understanding because there are eight ways to interface with that system and the chazal are merely pointing out the different ways. They spoke loshon ha’ra so they couldn't hide it from the Satan and they could have had the motion dismissed on the merit that they insisted on the letter of the law. G-D, unfortunately, had to insist on the letter of the law and the Temple was destroyed.
Context: The Divine Agenda
If you think that, so far, what you’ve heard are incredible ideas about the power of speech, what you’re about to hear is the true power of speech. If you think you know the full story, you’re mistaken. I will tell you something which is even greater than what I have told you already tonight, more mind-boggling. if you think the devastating consequence of failure to guard your speech is what I’ve said so far, it will seem like child's play compared to what I’m about to tell you which is awesome in its devastating consequences to klal Israel.
So far, we have dealt with much that our rabbis have written concerning loshon ha’ra. According to our framework, we are actually able to answer these conundrums, the questions, of the chazal. However, when we begin to look at some other sayings of chazal, we begin to realise that the framework that we have so far is really insufficient to respond to all of them. In other words, what we begin to see is that we don't really understand the full repercussions of speaking loshon ha’ra.
There is an aspect to the dimension of loshon ha’ra which we are lacking, which we are ignorant of, a second dimension that we need to clarify in order to understand the other chazals. This second dimension which we need in order to satisfy our understanding of the other chazals is a truth so earth-shaking, so to speak, that it's very difficult to listen to and hear without walking away very much impressed.
There are many ideas in hashkafa--Jewish eschatology which are esoteric. “Esoteric” means that many people do not know about these ideas; they are part of the secrets of the Torah, ideas which only people who are very learned, who have spent many hours learning, know.
However, in order to stop loshon ha’ra, in order to enable people to be “shmiras halashon,” to guard their tongues, we must enter an area which, in truth, is esoteric. We examine some kind of almost-secret doctrine. Because the intent of the shiur is to get people to refrain from speaking loshon ha’ra, it is fully justified to talk about these areas. In fact, it's interesting to note that the way the Satan wins is because of our ignorance. He is able to do what he's able to do because we lack the understanding of what is really going on, how he succeeds in doing what he wants to do. He succeeds because we don't understand the effect of our actions, the effect of our speech.
If we did understand the effect of our speech, we would immediately refrain from speaking loshon ha’ra. Therefore, I'll go through certain areas not known, but crucial to know, it in order to stop speaking loshon ha’ra; that, itself, is full justification for our efforts to comprehend these areas. Let’s go back to the beginning of “Bereshit”/Genesis. What do the chazal say that will extend our comprehension beyond that which we can derive with the framework we have so far?
This chazal says, “Rains are withheld because of people who speak loshon ha’ra.” Why are rains withheld? With our previous framework, we understand that if somebody speaks loshon ha’ra, it gives the Satan access to kitrug and that’s what is able to haul us into the Divine Court but what does the withholding of rain have to do with getting called to the court or not? We understand so far that if we speak loshon ha’ra it gives the Satan permission to mekatreg, to prosecute, to alert the court to sit in judgement. What does this have to do with rains being withheld?
Obviously, there's something that we're missing. Chazal understand something about shmiras halashon, the guarding of one’s speech, that we do not understand at all. That is one chazal.
Another chazal is very similar saying that, “mi’shemedaber loshon ha’ra, ha’parnassa shelo katan”--he who speaks loshon ha’ra has his livelihood diminished. That, obviously, is similar to the fact that rains are withheld because rains are the basis of all agriculture which is the basis for food supply, an aspect of “livelihood.”
What does loshon ha’ra have to do with the fact that livelihood is diminished? What does one have to do with the other? When chazal say something, they mean exactly what they say; they do not exaggerate. this isn't religious talk; when chazal say: if you do “A,” and “B” ensues, then “B” is a true result, a logical result, of “A.” Therefore, we must understand why it is that rains are withheld and why is it that livelihood is diminished.
Another chazal says, “Those who speak loshon ha’ra will not be worthy of receiving the Divine Presence,” not receiving the shechina. Why not? Again, we cannot answer this chazal based on our previous framework.
Another similar chazal says, “Anybody who speaks loshon ha’ra, G-D says of him: ‘He and I cannot live in the same world’.” Therefore, G-D exits. It’s the same idea as affecting the Divine Presence. You can, actually, diminish the presence of the shechina; again, how? We cannot understand this either based on the previous framework.
Yet another chazal says that we can succeed in removing the Divine Presence “mi l’mata, l’mala”--from below to on high. A speaker of loshon ha’ra pushes the shechina out. Let’s understand what removal of the shechina has to do with speaking loshon ha’ra.
Another chazal says, attributing the following to G-D: “G-D said, ‘(in) Olam ha’Ze---this world, because there are those amongst you who speak loshon ha’ra, I have removed My shechina. However, in the Future World, I will remove the yetzer ha’ra-- evil inclination from amongst you and restore the Divine Presence’.”
Again, we have a specific reference to one who speaks loshon ha’ra and G-D’s removal of the shechina.
Another idea is the famous statement that “the second Beis ha’Mikdash--Temple was destroyed because of the sin of loshon ha’ra that was amongst them.”
We know the essence of the destruction of the Second Temple was that the Divine Presence left. That's really what it means. We're not interested if a building was destroyed. The essence of the destruction of the Second Temple is that the shechina--the Divine Presence left from being amidst the Jews. Again, we see that he who speaks loshon ha’ra somehow affects the removal of shechina.
Another chazal says that the ramifications of somebody’s loshon ha’ra “oleh ad kisei ha’kovod”--arises until the Divine Throne, that such transgression transcends the heavens until it reaches the Divine Throne.
The effects of loshon ha’ra reaching the Divine Throne means that, in some way, the Divine Throne of G-D is affected. The “seat” where G-D “sits,” His “kise-kavod”--holy seat (not that G-D actually “sits” on a “seat”) means that, in some way, G-D’s Presence is enormously disturbed because one’s loshon ha’ra actually touches, blemishes, the Divine Throne. What does that mean?
That's an incredible statement, how a sin of loshon ha’ra which is, basically, conceptually a mazik---that's all it is---can actually pogem--create a defect in the Divine Throne of G-D. That's incredible!
Another statement says that anybody who speaks loshon ha’ra is as if he denies the existence of G-D. That's an incredible statement!
What does your speaking loshon ha’ra have to do with denying, or admitting, the presence of G-D? People say: well, most people speak loshon ha’ra in silence so they think nobody hears so it's as if they feel that G-D does not exist. If they felt He existed and that His Presence was everywhere, they would not speak loshon ha’ra; that is a simple meaning of that chazal.
The truth is that there is incredible profundity in that chazal, that, if you speak loshon ha’ra, in reality, it's as if you really deny the presence of G-D. It’s not because your actions would indicate that, but the manifestations, the consequences of the sin are a denial of the presence of G-D.
Also, there is a Vilna Gaon who quotes a midrash that says,---it's a famous Gra (Gaon’s other referent) but I'll repeat it because it really has to be understood-- “Every second that a man shuts his mouth and does not speak loshon ha’ra, he merits the ohr ha’ganuz--concealed Light (knowledge) which is so great that it is inconceivable to any angel,” a knowledge which will be revealed to you as a result of not speaking loshon ha’ra.
That's what the Vilna Gaon says in the name of the midrash. For every second that you do not speak loshon ha’ra you will merit a comprehension, the nature of which the greatest malachim--angels can't even “touch,” can’t comprehend. Why? Why loshon ha’ra? Why not just say that any mitzvah you do will merit that kind of perception? Why is it that refraining from speaking loshon ha’ra will give you the merit to be privy to a knowledge which is so awesome that the greatest angelic beings can't even touch it?
It’s an incredible midrash and something that we must seek to answer. These chazals are not understandable, not intelligible based on our previous framework alone. Even if we understand that a person is called to beis din as a result of his loshon ha’ra, what does it have to do with the shechina, with the kise hakavod-- Divine Throne, with the reward of the yediya nisteres--concealed knowledge? What does it have to do with all this?
We come to the conclusion that there is an area of loshon ha’ra which we must investigate, which we must have, in order to explain these ideas.
Let us now begin pursuing that understanding that will sufficiently answer these chazals. You will see that, in order to understand these chazals, we must understand many mysteries of Creation, must have a much greater understanding of the internal mechanism of Creation.
The Internal Mechanism of Creation
Let us begin from “Bereishis”--in the beginning. What do we see? We are introduced to a nachash--snake. This snake is trying to tempt man. That's the first scenario we encounter. This nachash is trying to tempt Chava,---familiar to many as “Eve” but, in Hebrew, means “life”--and to tempt Adam, Adam Ha’Rishon--first man. He tempts both Adam and Eve to enact a sin.
Who was this snake? This primordial snake, the “nachash ha’kadmoni,” as he is called, the first snake, was the physical manifestation of the Satan himself. The nachash represented the yetzer ha’ra--evil inclination.
In other words, the yetzer ha’ra in the time of Adam Ha’Rishon, before the sin, before the fall of man, was external to man. It is not like it is today when the yetzer hara is in the psyche of man. In those days, the yetzer ha’ra was external to man and “he” was mislabesh--“worn.” In other words, the Satan manifested himself in this creature called a nachash--very important to know.
There was a difference in the way man related to this snake, this yetzer ha’ra, before the sin and after the sin. It’s a profound difference. What is that difference, that distinction?
All things derive their existence from G-D. The existential source of all being comes only from the Ribono Shel Olam--Master of the Universe. It’s not only that; all things continuously derive their existence from G-D and from no one else. Beings don't even have to fulfil conditions to exist. They exist to achieve certain specific tasks. Therefore, we see that the existential source of all things is G-D Himself. All beings were created and sustained in order to do a task. Each being is “locked into” the Ribono Shel Olam--G-D Who is existence per se and “feeds” existence to all beings, gives them existence. In other words, all things have their existence, their sustained existence, and their power to accomplish their tasks from the Ribono Shel Olam and from no other source.
This connection that beings have to G-D is a result of the hashpa’a or shefa that G-D gives all entities. What is the idea of a hashpa’a or a shefa? A shefa simply means that G-D causes to be; He creates a causitive force that, actually, creates an entity. That's a shefa, an hashpa’a; it's a Divine influence.
When we say that something exists because of the hashpa’a or the shefa from G-D, we are really saying that the entity exists because it receives an influence from G-D. So, the words “hashpa’a,” and “shefa” mean “Divine influence,” a “Divine cause” that makes a thing be.
The nachash, the snake, the yetzer ha’ra, had its own connection to G-D.
It exists because G-D created it to do the work of the seduction of man. It had its own power, its own existence, from the Ribono Shel Olam. This is called “yenika” and it is a yonek from G-D. All beings are “yonek”--those who “suckle” or derive nourishment, sustenance from G-D. They derive their nourishment, their existence, their power from G-D Himself. That's called “yenika”--nourishment.
The Satan had his own yenika from G-D. The Satan was yonek from G-D, deriving his nourishment, his existence, from the Ribono Shel Olam. This existence, this power that he had to seduce, to entice men, this power he got from the Ribono shel Olam--and only from the Ribono Shel Olam--was his without conditions. He had it because he has his task. This is the way the nachash was, the way the Satan was, before the fall of man.
The Satan approaches Chava and offers her an argument to tempt her into transgressing G-D’s command. He tempts her to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. What was the test? The test is what’s called the “yichud metziuso” test. What does that mean? The nachash’s argument was as follows:
The reason why the Ribono Shel Olam told you not to eat from the tree is because--as Rashi brings it down in the midrash--the tree is really the source of all being and G-D eats from that tree and that is how G-D got the power to create the world and, obviously, G-D is jealous of you; He doesn't want you to rival Him. Therefore, He forbids you to eat from the tree. This is what the nachash told Adam.
Adam haRishon realized what's called “yichud shlitoso.” He understood that G-D is the most powerful thing he ever saw. He was created on the sixth day of Creation and, when he was created, Creation had been formed. He’d have to have said to himself: Who made all this? He knew it was the Ribono Shel Olam. Obviously, He was capable of making such an incredible Universe. The universe that Adam Ha’Rishon could perceive was much greater than what we can perceive. Adam likely thought: This must mean that G-D is mind-boggling in His ability to create. The shlita--the mastery that G-D is, that G-D has, must be awesome if He can do this.
Adam knew this. What Adam did not know and which was concealed from him in order that he should be tested, is that G-D is not only yichud shlitaso--Master of Creation, the ultimate power, but G-D is yichud mitziuso--the sole source of all being. That is very different than just being the power over everything.
Adam had to figure out with whatever intellectual processes he had available to him that the nachash is wrong, that G-D created everything, including the tree! It’s not the tree that is yichud mitziuso, it is the Ribono Shel Olam that is yichud miztiuso.
Adam experienced what's called the “hester”--concealment of the metzius of G-D. There was a concealment of the mitzius--origin of G-D, not the shlita--mastery of the Ribono Shel Olam. Adam’s test was in that mitzius. Would he understand that G-d is the true source of all being--even more--that G-D is existence itself?
Adam did not understand that; he “fell,” perceiving G-D only as yichud shlitaso. As Adam perceived it, G-D was, of course, supreme in his reign, in his mastery of Creation but not that G-D Himself was the absolute being of all. He fell, having accepted the advice of the nachash. Adam bought his argument, received the counsel of this primordial snake, this nachash ha’kadmoni, the Satan himself, the yetzer ha’ra.
New Relationship with “The Adversary”
What were the consequences of his acceptance of that advice? They were awesome! As a result, Creation was changed in many ways. One of the ways it changed was that man would now relate differently to the Satan than he did before.
The Satan now became internalized in the mind of man. We now carry around our own private and personal yetzer ha’ra. No more would the yetzer ha’ra be outside ourselves trying to offer us convincing, logical arguments. The yetzer ha’ra is in the mind of man, imbuing him with tremendous drives and giving him arguments internally, psychically, why he should do what the Satan wants. That's one way the briyah--Creation changed.
G-D decreed: until now, your task was to reject the advice of the nachash, to see through the flimsy argument that he was offering you. In other words, your task was to remove the ignorance that you were in, namely, to recognize that G-D is the yichud mitziuso, the source of all being, that He’s existence itself.
G-D continues: instead,you accepted the temptor’s advice. Not only did you accept his advice, you accepted his friendship as one who could give you that advice. As a result, your task will now be to reject his advice and, more than that, you must destroy the Satan. The task is now twofold.
But, how can man destroy the Satan?
What the Ribono Shel Olam did is an incredible transformation. He changed the nature of the Satan and “connected” him to man. What does that mean? Man now exists in an inverse relationship to the nahash. Before the fall, the yenika of the Satan, the source from which the Satan derived his existence and his power to do his task, his nourishment, came from G-D directly. He would have been yonek from G-D no matter what happened.
After the fall, G-D imparts to the Satan: you were yonek from Me directly until now. From now on, you will be yonek from man, and man will be yonek from Me. In other words, man derives the power and his existence from G-D. The Satan, or the nachash, derives his power and his existence from man, not from G-D, which is really an incredible idea. Satan must “beg” man to exist; no more can he derive his yenika from the Ribono shel olam directly; he's got to get it from us and, if we don't give it to him, do you know what happens? He dies because that's what we must do; we must kill him and we must reject his advice--two ideas.
Where do we see this in Chumash--five books of Moses? It sounds like a nice idea but where do we see it in Chumash? We are going to learn the Chumash differently than it is learned normally because the same pasukim--verses that reveal the simplified pshat--literal meaning also reveal the true nature of what goes on. It’s the hidden theme of Creation.
The Ribono Shel Olam says to the Satan, “Cursed are you from all the animals and the wild animals of the field. You will now crawl on your belly.”
What does that mean? The midrash--exegetical commentary says that, prior to the fall, the Satan, or the nachash, had feet. G-D implies that the snake will no longer have feet; he will crawl on his belly. Until that time, the Satan had been independent, could “stand on his own two feet” and didn't have to ask somebody to propel him. As of that moment, his feet would be removed. G-D means: you are dependent for your existence on somebody else. Who is that?--man. G-D removed the independence that the Satan had, that the nachash, the snake, had. Metaphorically, it would be dependent on man.
G-D continues, “You will eat dirt.” What “dirt” is that? Sin--cheit is dirt. Now you’ll have to “eat” the sins of man; that is to be your yenika, your sustenance. If you don't eat mankind’s “dirt,” you die.
What will be the result of eating man’s dirt? Obviously, the competitive “game” that now exists between us and Satan is not just that of seduction for its own sake; the Satan must seduce us or die. Survival is the name of the game! We are rivals; it is a battle to the death.
Therefore, we will hate the Satan and he will hate us because we are both contending for one power source, one “cable” which is connected to man and to the Satan at the same time. if we eat, he dies. If he eats, we--chas veshalom, G-D-forbid---die.
That’s the way it works. Therefore, the Ribono Shel Olam says, “Therefore, I will place hatred between you and the snake.” What does that mean? If you think about it, why should the Satan hate us? Before, we did not understand this relationship. Now we understand that he hates us because we have his nourishment! Of course, he hates us! It follows, logically, because, before this explanation, why should the snake hate us? We can hate him because he tempts us to sin, but why should he hate us? Now that he derives his nourishment from man who gets it from G-D, of course he hates us and, of course, what must the ultimate conclusion be? G-D could say: He will try to destroy you, bruise you, and you will try to destroy him. It is now a battle to the death; “survival” is the issue between us and the Satan.
The Satan is no longer a mere messenger to try to seduce us; he must seduce us, must get us, specifically, the Jews, to sin because, if he cannot, he dies, shrivels, becomes impoverished and dies. We and he are rivals for one source of kedusha--holinesss, one source of the shefa--Divine flow that comes from G-D and sustains existence. This is the state that exists now.
It is now possible for us to destroy the Satan. If we perform certain acts, he does not get our nourishment and he dies. If we do other kinds of acts, then he derives the nourishment from G-D via us and, of course, he lives, perhaps thrives, and, conversely, we begin to suffer.
This begs a profound question. You could say: wait a minute! There's something wrong here. The only way the Satan can get us into court is if we speak loshon ha’ra. Why is the Satan a mekatreg now? Why does he prosecute us in court? Is it his job because he hates us, wants to punish us?--no. As a result of the prosecutorial action, if we are found guilty, he “eats” from our sin. The kitrug is his yenika. The Satan’s prosecutions are not just his job; they are his life-line! If he doesn't prosecute us, he dies. When he wins the case, he is sustained by the kedusha that would have come to us had we not sinned and spoken loshon ha’ra. It’s a tremendous idea!
The Satan can appear before G-D and say: if the only way I can survive is by prosecuting man, and if man enables my prosecutorial capability by speaking loshon ha’ra, then I can badmouth man based on the principle of “midah k’neged midah.'' I can then get my sustenance, my nourishment. But what if man doesn't speak loshon ha’ra? I can't prosecute and I wind up dying. If my survival depends on his speaking loshon ha’ra, it's not fair! Why must I wait for his loshon ha’ra to prosecute? Yes, the Satan would die in the meantime, waiting.
That's a potent complaint to the Ribono Shel Olam. G-D responds: no, you are wrong! Who was the first one in Creation to speak loshon ha’ra? You know who it was.
The Rationale: Measure-for-Measure
It's amazing that the first recorded conversation in history already had loshon ha’ra in it; it couldn't even wait until later on. What did the Satan say? He said that G-D Himself is powerless, that he derives His power from the tree. What is that? That is motzi shem ra--denigrating G-D by saying that G-D is not what you think He is, that G-D is much weaker than you think He is. But, it’s more than that; it's a lie. He’s a mighty shakran--liar, that Satan! He’s the first being that spoke loshon ha’ra.
The Ribono shel Olam’s reaction? You had no right to speak loshon ha’ra. If you wanted to impress Adam, then do it with some other argument. How do you get the right to bad-mouth Me?
It’s true that man can invoke kitrug by speaking loshon ha’ra but, since the Satan spoke loshon ha’ra to make man sin, and spoke unjustly, the Satan’s prosecutorial capability upon which his survival depends became dependent on man’s--now, the Jew’s--loshon ha’ra; It’s midah k’neged midah, measure-for-measure! G-D invokes this principle: You spoke loshon ha’ra in order to make man sin and it was unjust. it was wrong of you to do that. Therefore, measure-for-measure, you will have to wait for his loshon ha’ra in order for you to survive. You have no argument.
That is why a snake has no voice, can utter no sound. It can only hiss. Why? The one who is represented by the snake also has no voice. He must wait for the voice of man. Before the Satan can utter any sound in beit din--Divine Court to mekatreg--prosecute, He must wait for the voice of man which is… loshon ha’ra! If a Jew speaks loshon ha’ra against a fellow Jew, then the Satan can speak loshon ha’ra against him. If a Jew does not speak loshon ha’ra, the Satan cannot denigrate, cannot prosecute, him. The Satan grows weaker and, eventually, dies.
The voice of the Satan is dependent on the voice of man.
Instead of the holiness that is supposed to come to man, that hashpa’a, instead, is taken by the Satan as a result of the sins of the Jews and our failure to guard our tongues. What that means is the following: only the Jews and the sitra achra, the Satan, can actually grow and diminish. If we do mitzvahs, fulfil the commandments, we grow in kedusha; if we don't, we diminish. If we sin, he grows. If we do mitzvahs he diminishes. The only two beings in Creation that grow and diminish are the Jews and the Satan; no other spiritual entity grows or diminishes. The power of the Jew waxes and wanes and the Satan waxes and wanes depending on our growth or diminishment.
We see too that the Satan must wait for the acts of man, meaning: the Jew. He cannot initiate his own yenika. He must wait for the Jew to act. If he tries to get Jews to sin and they do, and loshon ha’ra is spoken, listened to, and believed, the Satan can prosecute.
Yichud--Comprehension of G-D
What are we beginning to see? When mitzvos--those appropriate acts which are called “mitzvos”---commandments, are done, then the following things happen:
First, the being of man, particularly the Jews, is sustained and he exists further and has access to the flow of kedusha--holiness which comes between man and G-D. The flow itself is really what's called “yichud.” This connects one to G-D. When G-D is mashpia, when G-D causes you to be, not only do you continue to exist, not only are you sustained, but you have access to the yichud of G-D, an understanding about G-D, because that's part of the kedusha that flows to man.
It's a package. Man exists. Man understands, as a result of this flow that goes from G-D to man--this shefa, this hashpa’a--and the hassaga--comprehension that man gets is what's called the “yichud” of G-D. The essence of the knowledge that man has of G-D is “hasagas yichudo”--comprehension of the Oneness of G-D.
In other words, if man fulfils commandments, he receives what's called an “ohr”-- Light. And this “light” is a metaphor for knowledge, a certain understanding of G-D, which is the yichud.
Man also becomes powerful, becomes able to have power to promote that yichud. Therefore, Jews, if they does mitzvos, are both sustained and have access to two things: oz--might or power and tiferes--beauty which, in this context, means “knowledge of G-D.” So, the Jew has access to power, beauty, knowledge, the kedusha which is that ohr, that Light, that understanding which is the yichud.
What happens if that access happens? Truth prospers, spirituality pervades Olam Ha’Zeh-- this world. How is this manifest, specifically for the Jews? Yeshivas are successful in raising money to promote the knowledge of G-D. In this, they are successful. Health predominates; people are healthy. There's no disease. Crops don’t fail. There is no such thing as “crime.” There's total peace. There are no tyrants. Dictators fail.
That all happens when man, particularly Jews, do mitzvos, those appropriate acts. The flow goes to them, the kedusha flow. Therefore, they have the power to spread the yichud of G-D Himself because they comprehend the yichud of G-D; that's what the flow gives them, that hasagas yichuda--comprehension of the oneness of G-D. They are able to comprehend it and promote it throughout Creation so what man begins to perceive is what's called “giluy yichuda”--enormous revelation of the presence of G-D.
If man keeps doing mitzvos, then the yichud, the flow that man gets which reveals it, is so enormous that it causes the shechina--Divine Presence to rest among men. The Divine Presence is the greatest comprehension of the Oneness of G-D that a man can have in Olam Ha’Ze--this world. The Divine Presence actually manifests itself among men; that is the result of the power-flow that man gets.
The Jews have the power of the following if they do mitzvos:
1- sustained existence;
2- access to the kedusha-flow which manifests itself in terms of oz--power, tiferes--beauty, which is ohr--Light or the knowledge of the yichud of G-D;
3- the power to “bring down” the shechina--Divine Presence giving way to enormous revelation of the presence of G-D throughout Creation, a kind of utopian state.
What happens if the Jews sin?
If he does inappropriate acts, if he does chataim--sins, the kedusha-flow, that holiness that would flow to, and sustain mankind giving it access to the yichud, access to the shechina, is disturbed; it’s shunted. The Satan gets it because of our inverse relationship. He derives the nourishment from the ohr--Light that we should have gotten, from the kedusha. Instead of tigbores kedusha--proliferation of holiness, there is tigbores ha’ra--proliferation of evil, the exact opposite of what could have been.
When the Satan is yonek, when he derives the kedusha, the shefa, the following things happen: The Satan’s existence is sustained and he gets access to the yichud of G-D, access to the oz--power in that flow, access to its Light, to its beauty, to that hasaga--knowledge the flow affords.
What does he do with that?--a few things. He can deny the entry of the yichud into the briya--Creation. We begin to see an enormous proliferation of evil as a result. We see how shecker--falsehood predominates, that crime is rampant, that tyrants succeed. The world has dictators and tyrants and we can't seem to get rid of them. Evil is all over, dictatorships are successful, suffering is enormous, diseases among men proliferate along with famine. There is an incredible amount of the concealment of the Oneness of G-D because the entire purpose of the Satan is to fool you, to deny His presence, the knowledge that G-D is One.
The way he does that is by giving success to tyrants, giving success to people in such a way that they regard themselves as existing independent of G-D, thinking they are an independent cause of their success. Despite, or without, G-D, they believe it is they who get things done. That is called the “plurality of forces and beings.”
When the Satan has access to the yichud, he can mastir ha’yichud---conceal the knowledge of G-D’s Oneness. Every individual, every institution that conceals the Oneness of G-D, that promotes the arrogance of man, the evil of man, his materialism, his drive toward pleasure, his drive toward atheism--these have enormous proliferation and success. Why? The yichud is firmly in the Satan's hands. That’s tigbores ha’ra.
If you think that's all that happens, then take “step #3.”
Distortion and Proliferation
Besides the fact that the Satan is sustained and has access to the yichud and can, therefore, mastir ha’yichud, obscure it, he can remove the shechina. How? Since the Divine Presence is the greatest statement of yichud, and the Satan has access to the kedusha coming down that would have given the Jews the shechina, he has the power to remove it.
When the Satan grows, receiving the kedusha on the level of the presence of the shechina, he is able to remove the yichud of the Ribono Shel Olam, able to remove the shechina; that's why G-D must leave. It’s not because of chata’im--sins in and of themselves. G-D must remove Himself in order to allow a hester--concealment of His Oneness to occur because that is really what the sins of man, of the Jews, have done.
If you think this is all the Satan gets, you are making a gross error.
There's something even more devastating that he can do than wreak the devastation I’ve already described. He can take the yichud, allow it to come down to the earth and…… wait! So you think: that's great! But you’d ask yourself: why would the Satan allow that deep knowledge to come down? Isn’t its concealment what he wants, not its promotion?
Aha! When the Satan gets the yichud, he allows it to come down and gives it to people who are, themselves, evil, who have chosen freely to do evil. He gives them the access to the yichud which they distort. It comes out that these peoples, or nations, have partial truths and partial lies and can turn to the Jews and say: we have the truth and you have nothing.
In other words, the Satan uses the yichud itself as a weapon against the yichud of the Jews, which is incredible. He allows its entry into Creation, into the world, gives it to the goyim who take Divine truth and distort it and claim it for their own. They say: we have it and, if you don't come into our fold, we will persecute you. The Satan perpetrates a partial distortion of the truth which, in many ways, is worse than a lie altogether.
You may ask: where do we see this? You will now begin to understand an incredible aspect of Creation. You will now understand that a great deal of the history of the world, the history of mankind and, most markedly, of the Jews, is based on this fundamental principle: either we get the kedusha, the yichud, or the shechina or he does, in the sense that he can access the yichud of the shechina. Which happens determines a great deal of history.
I’ll now to mention several events that clearly illustrate this principle.
History: Exile of Torah, of Power, of Revelation
Let’s take a look at history and you will see this principle clearly illustrated in a way that you probably never thought about. One of the most significant events that ever befell the Jews was the churban beis ha’mikdash ha’rishon--the destruction of the First Temple. What happened at that time? The Temple was destroyed. We lost the shechina but there were many other things we lost. Nevuah--prophecy ceased from among Jews from that time.
There is an interesting pasuk--verse in “Eicha”--Lamentations: It says, “malkah v’sareha b’goyim--her kings and officers are amongst the nations, exiledamong the non-jews. It continues, “ein Torah”--there is no more Torah. That’s because all the scholars are gone. “Gam nevieha lo motzu chazon m’Ha’Shem” means that also her prophets of Jerusalem obtain no more visions from G-D.
Exile, no more Torah, no more prophecy--this is what the pasuk points out.
If the sins of the Jews and the loshon ha’ra that they spoke was able to give the Satan the ability to prosecute against them and was able to nourish from the kedusha that they should have had, then, obviously, we lost it and he got it. What did he get?
The Jews lost the oz--power, the autonomy that they had, lost their own republic, their own nation. At around the same time as the Temple’s destruction, in 525 BCE, the Roman Republic was founded. There you are--the switch.
The Jews had enjoyed the power, enjoyed political autonomy. That had been part of the kedusha, the shefa they were receiving. Once the Satan was yonek because of their sins and their loshon ha’ra, The Satan successfully prosecuted the Jews, took that kedusha for himself, and the oz went to the Satan and Rome was founded. This occurred about the same time that we lost the beis ha’mikdash.
It's not a coincidence. The oz was transferred.
Now the goyim have the oz so Rome is founded, that nation which would persecute Jews for thousands of years because we are still in the shibud--debt, slavery, thegalus--exile of Rome.
But that's the oz. What about the tiferes, the knowledge of the yichud of G-D, the hasaga, the ohr--Light that Jews had?
The Jews lost the Torah, right? They lost the Torah which is Truth, truth derived from cognition, from intellection, and who got it?--the Satan. When he got it, he took the knowledge of yichud and gave it to the goyim. That is why you find that, around the time of the destruction of the Temple, what was founded?--Greek philosophy. Greece was founded. At the same time, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Parmenides, Pythagoras… all these people lived around the time of that destruction of the first beis ha’mikdash.
Power was lost to the Jews and it went to the goyim and Rome was founded. Torah was lost from the Jews therefore the Satan took it and gave intellection to the West. That was the founding of Greece, with its philsophy and science. Torah, to the Jews became chochma chitzones--“inside” wisdom while Greek philosophy went to the intellection of the world.
The next loss was prophesy, which is information, knowledge given to a prophet not via cognition but rather via the intuitive senses. We lost the intuitive ability to access knowledge, the yichud of G-D and, of course, the goyim got it from the Satan. He was a yonek from our kind of kedusha which is nevuah--prophecy and so the goyim got it. How did it manifest?
At the same time as the destruction of the Temple, Confucius lived. Confucianism, Buddhism and Lao Tzu-Taoism were founded. The basis of Western civilization and Eastern civilization, the chochmah--intellection, wisdom they have today, they got at the same time that the Temple was destroyed. Could this be a coincidence? No!
It transpired this way because of the principle that I am telling you, that when we lost our kedusha, our shefa, which at the time of the Temple’s destruction manifested as political autonomy, Torah, nevuah, we lost it all. The Satan got it and was able to not only remove the shechina because he had access to its yichud, but to distort it. He sent it down to the earth and bestowed the intellection, the cognition upon the West. This is due to the inverse relationship that we have with the Satan.
Let's take another event, the churban bayis sheni--destruction of the Second Temple which is the next major cataclysm that happened to Jews, the next major tragedy.
What happened there? Again, we lost the shechina. It departed from us and the Second Temple was destroyed. Again we had enjoyed autonomy because we were in Eretz Israel, but then lost power which went to the Romans manifest as the Temple’s destruction. The Satan could, once again, access the power we’d been getting for our kedusha and give it to the Romans who were able to destroy the beis ha’mikdash and conceal the yichud of G-D. The shechina, again, departed. Once the shechina departed, there was near-total hester--concealment of G-D within Creation and evil proliferated. Again, the inverse relationship.
But what about the chochma and tiferes? What about the Torah that we lost? In other words, what about the yichud of the shechina itself that we lost, that the Satan was able to get at that time?
The Satan took it, twisted it, and gave it to the goyim in the form of Christianity.
Christianity is a true distortion of Judaism. How? What do Christians say? They say it is not we, the Jews, who are Israel; it is they, Christians, who are Israel. They say it is not we, the Jews, who have Torah; it is they, Christians, who have the Torah in the form of the New Testament. They say it is not we who have the messiah; it is they who have the true messiah. Christianity hasn’t its own doctrine. Christianity is nothing more than an opposition and distortion of Judaism. There is no religion that is like that. All religions have their own doctrines, their own ideas that are independent of Judaism. Christianity is a contorted mirror image of Judaism, a kind of reversal.
It is exactly what the kedusha looks like when Satan is yonek. He takes the shefa, the kedusha that the Jews have, that yichud of the shechina and, when we lose it and he gets it, they come up with a religion which looks like Christianity, a twisted form of Judaism.
What have the goyim been doing with it? They say: we have the truth therefore you must come over to us. We have been persecuted by Christianity, the “anti-Judaism,” for 2,000 years. The consequence of the Satan’s access to the yichud of the shechina itself has been Christianity and its persecutions for 2,000 years. It’s an amazing idea.
There is one more incident that I want to mention and it is, again, when the exile of the Jews really began. It really began around 500CE. That's when the Jews began to be spread out all over the world, when they began to leave Bavel--Babylon and Israel to spread among far-flung communities. This meant exile. The shefa that had been coming to us would go to the Satan and he would, again, be yonek and grow and give it to the goyim.
How did the yichud manifest this time? It was an incredible distortion called “Islam.”
Islam occurred at the same time that the galus--exile really began in earnest for the Jews. Because Islam is much closer to the truth than paganism because they believe in one G-D, it’s less of a distortion, but, like the Christians, they say to us: our religion is the true religion. How many hundreds of years have the Muslims been persecuting the Jews because they feel they have the one, true religion.
It turns out that the world has gone away from paganism and gotten Christianity which, at least, means they believe in a “trinity” and not in the 1,400 gods that Greece and Rome used to believe in. As the Christians say, it’s a “unity in a trinity” but it's sort of like three gods, but three gods is better than 1,400 They’ve come closer to the truth but they have persecuted others greatly because the Satan has had that access to the yichud of the shechina and distorted the yichud, giving it to them and they’ve persecuted us as a result saying they have the truth. Same thing goes for Islam. The Arabs went from a pagan nation to a nation that believes in one G-D which is an enormous advancement on their part because the only thing that they really hold which is a distortion is that Mohammed is a prophet. But at least the G-D they believe in is one G-D.