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Power of Speech

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A 19-part series by Rav Shimon Kessin


INTRODUCTION

When you read any book on Jewish history you become aware of a stark realization. Almost every era, every generation in our history is covered in blood, the blood of countless Jews killed in conquests, pogroms, crusades, inquisitions and holocausts. Even today in our own time, there are... Read More



PART 1: THE POWER OF LOSHON HORA ON A PERSONAL LEVEL

There are 613 mitzvos in the Torah. Some are considered more severe than others. For example, the observance of Shabbos is deemed a very severe obligation ("chumra d'shabbos"). We know this from the fact that a Jew who who intentionally violates the Shabbos may merit the death penalty according to... Read More



PART 2: THE POWER OF LOSHON HORA ON A NATIONAL LEVEL

Almost two thousand years ago an enormous tragedy occurred to the Jewish people. The Romans conquered the land of Israel, besieged Jerusalem and destroyed the second Bais Hamikdash. Tens of thousands of Jews were killed or cast into slavery. Jewish sovereignty over the land was terminated. When Chazal examined... Read More



PART 3: THE PURPOSE OF CREATION: JUSTICE AND MERCY

The Torah reveals to us the extraordinary reason for creation. Hashem desired, because of His absolute goodness, to create another being besides Himself that would resemble Him to the extent that it could, so that it would co exist with Him for eternity. By experiencing this... Read More



PART 4: THE POWER OF GUARDING ONE'S SPEECH (SHMIRAS HALOSHON)

If there are two separate and independent courts in heaven co existing at the same time, one of justice and the other of mercy, under what conditions does Hashem allow the court of Mercy to dominate rather than the court of Justice? When a Jew sins and does not repent, his sins are normally examined in... Read More



PART 5: THE TRAGEDY OF OUR HISTORY

What dawns on us at this point is a thought so terrifying that it should cause us to shake and tremble. The tragedies and catastrophes of the last two thousand years didn't have to happen! The blood and gore that fills the pages of Jewish history could have been prevented or at least... Read More



PART 6: THE PROHIBITION OF LOSHON HORA

What precisely is Loshon Hora? It refers to any revelation of information that one can anticipate will possibly lead to hurting or damaging the well being of another Jew in any sense, physically, emotionally, socially or economically. This revelation usually takes the form of speech, but it can also... Read More



PART 7: THE PROHIBITION OF RECHILUS

Just as the Torah prohibits Loshon Hora, so too it prohibits Rechilus (tale-bearing). What is the difference between the two? When a person speaks Loshon Hora, he reveals information that can create damage for someone. When he speaks Rechilus, he reveals information... Read More



PART 8: HOW TO STOP LOSHON HORA AND RECHILUS

At this point, you have a fairly clear idea of the power of Loshon Hora and Rechilus and the damage that they can do to you. You also know some of the key concepts attached to these prohibitions. But how do you control them? Talking is as natural as breathing. How can we... Read More



PART 9: PROHIBITION OF LISTENING TO & BELIEVING IN LOSHON HORA & RECHILUS

The Torah prohibits the revelation of information that can create damage (Loshon Hora) or animosity (Rechilus). Both of these prohibitions relate to the speaker or the revealer of the information. The Torah also prohibits for one to listen to Loshon Hora and Rechilus or to believe... Read More





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