Friday, May 28, 2010

Parashat Beha'alotcha - פרשת בהעלתך

Vincent van Gogh


This week's Parasha Beha'alotcha tells us about the incident where Miriam speaks to her brother Aharon about Moshe. Because Zippora's name wasn't mentioned but the two older siblings of Moshe simply referred to her as the "Cushite" woman, the incident could be understood as "Lashon HaRah - Slander". Moreover it says that neither Miriam nor Aharon had a right to talk about Moshe and his relationship to his wife Zippora (they had separated and thus, no sex). Although the older siblings meant well, G - d interfered and punished them because of speaking slander.

Obviously there are times and reasons when we have to speak out and not everything can be considered as "Lashon HaRah". Unfortunately today, almost any kind of criticism is already seen as Lashon HaRah. As an excuse for ignoring bad actions within Jewish frum society, for instance.

When I open up the Chafetz Chaim book on Lashon Harah, I almost immediately close it. According to him, anything may be slander; even thoughts. As we are not living in a perfect world, we should speak up. I am not referring to Miriam at this point but can anyone really blame her and Aharon. However, Torah commentators tell us that the two didn't understand Moshe's extraordinary level of prophecy. He wasn’t "just" like our forefathers (who didn't separate from their wives because of their level of prophecy) nor had he a limited level just like the later prophets. Moshe's level of prophecy was unique because he didn't experience prophecy in a dream like the forefathers or in visions. G - d spoke to him day and night and with clear words. Whatever that means.

While studying this Torah section I started asking myself what all the other thousands of Jews in the desert camp did. No speaking Lashon HaRah ? Wasn't this a kind of boring ?:-)

It says that every human being has a limit of words during his lifetime. As soon as those words are used up, the person has to die. Due to that statement, we should limit using words. Sometimes we really only talk to someone in a rather stupid way. About unnecessary things and afterwards I am always upset because I feel that I have wasted my time. On the other hand, sometimes you simply need to talk about other than holy subjects or you go crazy.

"Shabbat Shalom and watch your conversations !":-)

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