Around the Shabbos Table – The Subconscious Dialogue – Ki Seitzei

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The Torah (Devarim 24:9) commands us to “Remember what HaShem your G-d, did to Miriam on the way…” The injunction is fulfilled by remembering that Miriam spoke loshon hora about Moshe Rabenu, and was punished with tza’aras (a terrible skin disease).

The Torah tells us that the nature of Miriam’s loshon hora concerned Moshe’s decision to abstain from marital relations. The Sifre explains that Miriam’s intention was to praise Moshe’s exalted level, and that she was not critical of Moshe’s unprecedented conduct. Rather, Miriam asked her brother, Aaron, a question of halacha. She reasoned that since Aaron was second to Moshe in closeness to HaShem, that perhaps Aaron also was required to separate from his wife.

Yet, if she merely asked a straight forward question concerning Aaron’s status – why was she punished? Is there any loshon hora found in her words?

However, HaShem examines the words we speak, as well as, the deep, hidden thoughts of the heart that accompany our comments. Although, Miriam sincerely expressed a doubt she had concerning Aaron’s status, when HaShem looked into her heart he saw a slight flaw.

In her inner feelings, perhaps in her subconscious, HaShem saw a microscopic suspicion that stirred in her heart against Moshe. She was concerned that perhaps his decision to separate from Tzipporah was not ordained by Divine Decree. Her words and her primary feelings were focused to solve a halachic issue that occurred to her. Nevertheless, the minor ‘human’ feeling that was hidden in the inner recesses of her heart was unacceptable.

Every human being is HaShem’s child. Just as an earthly father, cannot tolerate even the slightest mistreatment of any of his children, so too HaShem cares and oversees that every one of His children is treated with dignity and respect.

In the sensitive world of words and levels of thought HaShem requires of us impeccable conduct in all of our interpersonal relations. Hence, true Torah observance creates an oasis of peace and love between all mankind. (based on the Ohr HaTzafon of Rav Nosson Zvi Finkel)

Today: Before you speak about another person – weigh your words and your innermost feelings.

Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller and the Salant Foundation


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