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Bwpe1.gif (844 bytes): Guarding Our Tongues

In this week's parsh.jpg (2373 bytes) reading, wpeC.gif (953 bytes) describes G-D's description of the ensuing destruction of Egypt's first born sons... In the description, he says the following:

"And against all the children of Israel a dog shall not loose its tongue, because of man or beast; so that you may know that the L-rd has discriminated between Egypt and Israel" (Shemoth 11:7)

balpeh.jpg (4295 bytes) teaches us that the dogs actually withheld their tongues (from barking) during the plague. For this act of restraint, G-D commanded that dogs be allowed to eat treifah (a "torn" animal) as shown in Shemoth: "To the dog shall you throw it" (Shemoth 22:30).   These verses imply that the Holy One does not deprive any creature of the reward due it. Now the matter may be argued a fortiori: if G-D did not withhold the reward due an animal, All the more does He not withhold the reward due a man.1

Interestingly enough, the verse "To the dog shall you throw it" is followed by "Thou shalt not take up a false report" which may be read "Thou shalt not spread a false report".   Thus R. Shesheth said in the name of R. Elazer b. Azaryah: All who bear an evil report, and all who accept an evil report, and all who testify falsely against their neighbor are fit to be thrown to the dogs. 2

An Evil Tongue: True and False Derogatory Statements
According to the Chofetz Chaim, "we are forbidden to relate anything derogatory about others. If a derogatory statement is true, it is termed loshon hora (an evil tongue). The most common defense to a rebuke for speaking loshon hora is, "But it is true." That is exactly what categorizes the statement as being loshon hora!   If it is false, even partially so, it is termed motzi shaim ra (defamation of character) and the offence is much more severe. 3

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1 Mechilta, Mishpatim
2 B. Pes 118a
3 Guard Your Tongue, Based on the Chofetz Chayim, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, p. 13

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