The Chofetz Chaim zt"l begins his monumental book about loshon hora with a list of the negative and positive mitzvos that one transgresses when speaking loshon hora. The first positive mitzvah is to "Remember what Hashem did to Miriam while on the road . . ." She was stricken with tsoraas for speaking loshon hora about her brother, Moshe Rabbeinu. Listen to how the Chofetz Chaim zt"l describes the enormity of the sin of loshon hora. "The Torah warns us to constantly remind ourselves of the dreadful punishment which Hashem inflicted upon the tzadekes Miriam HaNeviah (the prophetess). She only spoke about her brother whom she loved as herself. She raised him upon her lap, putting her life in danger to save him from the river. She did not really speak badly about him; she only equated him to other prophets.
She spoke neither in front of him nor in public. She spoke privately to her brother Aharon, the holy one. Moshe Rabbeinu was not offended by this, as the Torah writes, ' . . . and the man Moshe was very humble' (Bamidbar 12:3). Even so, all of her good deeds did not help her. She was afflicted with tsoraas for this."
Children . . .
The Chofetz Chaim is telling us how serious loshon hora really is. If you want to know all about loshon hora and how to avoid speaking or hearing it, read his sefer, "Chofetz Chaim". Ask Abba to learn it together with the family. It is important to develop good speech habits when you are young, kinderlach. As the Chofetz Chaim says, one who is careful with his speech will merit a good life in both this world and the next.
"According to the word of Hashem the Children of Israel would journey, and according to the word of Hashem they would camp" (Bamidbar 9:18).
Hashem's word guided the Jewish people in the desert. When He ordered them to travel, they traveled. When the order came to stop and set up camp, they did so. Rav Yishaya HaLevi Horwitz zt"l who is know to us as the Shelah (Shnei Luchos HaBris) writes the following. The travels in the desert were not the only events governed by Hashem's word.
Rather, He brings about every event in world history. Therefore it is fitting for a person to accustom himself to say b'ezras Hashem (with Hashem's help) or im yirtza Hashem (if Hashem wants) before everything he does. This will increase his emunah (faith) in Hashem and will bring him blessing.
There is a Medrash quoted in the sefer "Yalkut Lekach Tov" which illustrates the importance of saying b'ezras Hashem. There was once a wealthy man who needed to buy oxen. He was traveling to the marketplace when he met Eliyahu HaNovi disguised as a merchant.
Eliyahu asked him, "Where are you going?" "To the marketplace to buy oxen," was the man's reply. Eliyahu told the man that he should say im yirtza Hashem. The man replied, "the money is in my pocket, and the matter is totally in my hands." "If that is what you say," replied Eliyahu, "you will not succeed." And so it went. As the man traveled along, his wallet fell from his pocket without him noticing.
Eliyahu HaNovi saw it and placed it upon a rock in the heart of the forest when no man ever traveled. He reached the market, and struck a good deal on some good oxen. When he went to pay, he realized that his money had fallen and he was greatly embarrassed. He returned home empty handed. A short time later he set out again to buy the oxen.
Once again, he met Eliyahu HaNovi on the way. The same exchange of words took place and the man again refused to say im yirtza Hashem.
Eliyahu HaNovi caused the man to fall asleep. He took the wallet from his pocket and placed it near the first one. When the man awoke, he realized that he had been robbed and he returned home very distressed.
He pondered both trips and realized that the merchant was correct.
Hashem was punishing him because he placed all of his faith in his own efforts. He resolved from that point onward to always say im yirtza Hashem before everything he attempted to accomplish. The man set out a third time to buy oxen. Again, he met Eliyahu HaNovi disguised as a poor boy. Eliyahu asked him, "Where are you going?" "To the marketplace to buy oxen im yirtza Hashem," was the man's reply.
Eliyahu blessed him with success in his purchase. The man succeeded in buying choice oxen at a cheap price. On the way home, the oxen broke away from him and fled deep into the forest. The man finally caught up to them near a large rock. Resting on that rock were the two wallets of money that he had lost. The man realized that the hand of Hashem was behind all of these events.
Children . . .
Hashem controls everything in our lives. The problem is that we do not always realize this. One way to help ourselves remember Him is to follow the example of the rich man and always say im yirtza Hashem or b'ezras Hashem before everything we do. Before long, we will come to see His hand guiding us and helping us in all of our accomplishments. B'ezras Hashem we should all be successful in remembering to say b'ezras Hashem.
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