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From: rhendel@king.mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Wed, 12 Jun 1996 13:30:51 -0400 Subject: Shiduchs and Why Leshon harah is so hard to Keep I have been impressed with the respect people have shown in recent MJ postings on the care one must take in listening and giving shiduch information. We all know how severe the sin of leshon hara is and it is always good to see it affirmed in public. This leads me to present an insight as to why Leshon harah is so hard to keep (vs other stringent isurim like not eating on yom kippur, not working on shabbos, sexual prohibitions, not eating chamatz on pesach etc.). Why is leshon harah harder to keep than all of these? The answer lies in the fences --rabbinical accompaniments---to the prohibited items. Not only adultery is prohibited (for example), but being alone (Yichud is prohbitied), kissing, and more generally carrying on and wearing "provacative outfits". Thus the main act (adultery) is prohibited and *also prohibited* are the acts that lead up to it. Similarly with say the prohibition of eating chamaytz on pesach. It is prohibited to eat it, it is prohibited to have it in ones house, it is prohibited to own it, and one must prepare the house with "pesachdik" food. Again the main act is prohibited(eating chamaytz) and *also prohibited* are the acts that lead up to it. But with leshon harah this is *not* the case. While leshon harah is prohibited,nevertheless one must constantly talk about people in order to do good deeds. Making shiduchs for example is a very big mitzvoh: e.g.(i) it is a fulfillment of "love thy neighbor like oneself", (ii) it is one of those mitzvoth that we eat only "fruit rewards in this world" and the main reward is in the next world, (iii) the midrash points out how great shiduchs and burial-shivah visits are since the torah "begins" with the marriage (by God Himself, God the Shadchan) of Adam and Eve and closes with the burial (By God Himself) of Moses. Thus leshon harah is unique in that while it is prohibited nevertheless the things leading "up to it"--talking about other people--are very often part of big mitzvoth. That is why the rules for it are so intricate. In closing I acknowledge (with humility) the master on Leshon harah, the Chafetz Chayim, who inspired this thought by pointing out that the classical example of leshon hara...the talk of Miryam on Moses (Numbers 12) happened not with maliciousness but out of a desire to help Moses marriage since he had separated from his wife because of prophecy. B Ahavath Yisroel...Russell Jay Hendel, rhendel @ mcs . drexel . edu