Rav Brazil: Sefiras Haomer\Stop Your Chattering


rav-shmuel-brazil-1The parsha of Emor begins and ends with speech. The first word of the parsha begins with the word emor . The end of the parsha deals with the individual who cursed Hashem and was punished by stoning. Upon a deeper look we will find that both the beginning and the end of the parsha deal with double speech. The beginning passuk uses the double words of amira אמור אל הכהנים בני אהרן ואמרת עליהם . In the end of the parsha the Torah reveals that the underlying influence on that person who cursed Hashem was because of his mother’s absence of tznius conduct in Mitzrayim. She was named Shelomis bas Dibri. Rashi brings the Chazal that she would flirt by saying shalom aleicham shalom alecha to men until this behavior got her in trouble with a mitzri whom with her gave birth to this curser. Her impurity of speech went so far as to influence such a horrible blemish in her son’s speech. The apple does not fall far from the tree. Take notice however that the connection of the beginning and end of the parsha deals with double speech for it seems that the repeated shalom alecha that Shelomis conversed in was the thing that did her in. What is the meaning of all this?

The Vorker Rebbe comments on the words of the first passuk לנפש לא יטמא בעמיו that the word nefesh refers to speech as the Targum Onkelos translates the passuk that we find in creation of man ויהי אדם לנפש חיה to mean a spirit that speaks. The Torah is therefore saying that one should not contaminate his unique power of speech. Rashi comments that the double term of amirah used to introduce this message comes to teach להזהיר גדולים על הקטנים. According to the Vorke Rebbi’s interpretation we can suggest homiletically that our Chazal are warning us that a minor wrong speech can turn into a major destructive speech which can be very damaging, both to the individual who it was addressed to and to the power of one’s speech. How many times has one only said a minor criticism or words that were just not nice to a friend or relative that somehow snowballed into a major irreconcilable battle where both sides are still not talking to each other today. We don’t have to look farther that the slogan that unfortunately was proven true in World War I that was a direct outgrowth of a catastrophe, “Loose lips sink ships”.

When I grew up, we were taught to counteract insults and hurtful words that were thrown at us, by the recital of the famous poem, Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never harm me”. Today I really can’t believe that such a baloney poem ever existed and passed down as the universal protector of hurt feelings. It is one of the biggest lies of humanity. Being called a derogatory name by a friend or adult can be so lifetime emotional and psychological damaging that one would gladly choose to be clobbered by sticks and stones even if he would land in the hospital for two weeks rather than to have a career of an emotional cripple or someone who is dysfunctional. Just visit all the therapists and see why they have such a thriving business. It is because their clients were called names or some other negative epitaphs by adult figures when they were young.

להזהיר גדולים על הקטנים Be very careful and realize that big blunders evolve from small ones, major conflagrations come from minor scuffles.

One might rationalize and justify the behavior of a woman initializing a conversation with men by saying that it was socially correct or politically necessary. But why then does this “necessary” conversation suddenly transform into a flirting extremely relaxed mode as if the man she was talking to was her husband? The once necessary conversation has fast forwarded into an inappropriate conversation which can lead to inappropriate thoughts and behavior. The decadent matzav that we find today amongst teenagers and married adults is sparked largely because of our lack of understanding of להזהיר גדולים על הקטנים that seemingly innocent and insignificant conversations can cause serious major problems. Shelomis bas Dibri did not just say shalom alecha to a passerby to be yotzei the necessary social grace. She added a few words here and there until those “extra” words created for her a fantasy of a relationship with someone else besides her husband. This is what is hinted in the words of Chazal that she repeated the words of shalom aleichem. Chazal were much smarter in understanding the human psyche and heart when they warned אל תרבה שיחה עם האשה do not talk too much with women or vice versa. Note that they did not say to refrain from talking those necessary words but rather do not talk too much – don’t chatter. Chatter has a very negative personality. We are warned by the government of an impending attack by the enemy after they deciphered the plotting enemies’ “chatter” throughout their recent communications. Look at how much havoc and ruined lives that have come about merely because of that innocent “chat room” on the internet. Welcome to Walt Disney’s Fantasy Land.

Tonight for the first time as I was writing the dvar Torah, I was curious enough to see what the contours of a chat room is all about. I was forwarded to the front page of Teensspot..Com. [No I did not enter the site] What an eye opener! I mamesh marveled of their incredible warped creativeness of how that they could create out of nothing no less than 31 categories and titles of chat rooms and topics [some of them for very “sick” people]. An added feature is that the site simultaneously informs the viewer from moment to moment the number of chatters that are active participants in each category. To suck you in even more, they lure you with a free service.

When conversations with the opposite gender become an outlet or substitute for the lack of one’s own fulfillment in their relationship that simply raises a red flag of a grave impending danger. The world has yet to recognize the deep ruach hakodesh of our Chachamim, for no one understands man and the human character as they do.

As we count the Omer we must be aware of the significance of the avodah that is required to be done with the karban of the Omer [barley produce] which is the תנופה – the waving of the karban in the six directions. The sefarim say that this word tenufah contains two separate words תנו פה which literally mean give a mouth or pay attention to the mouth and the power of one’s speech. Every day we count another number which is the mitzvah to use our power of speech. The forty nine days of the Omer correspond to the 49 days of mesecta Sota which deals with the wayward women who secludes herself with another man. It has become a custom for many to learn mesechta Sotah during this period correlating each day with another blatt. But this parallel runs even deeper. Both the karban Omer and Sotah consists of barley. The gemarrah in Kesuvos 13 states ראוה מדברת that witnesses saw that she secluded herself with another man. Our Chazal use the term מדברת which literally means conversing, to apply to a case of seclusion. This teaches us very clearly that such inappropriate conduct starts with words from which it degenerates into a horrific matzav.

Klall Yisrael in the 49 days of Sefirah after they left Mitzrayim, were likened to the Sotah who secluded herself with a strange man outside of Hashem. for in Mitzrayim we worshipped avodah zarah. Consequently, then too we find that our dibbur was in galus and dysfunctional. It was for this reason that our redemption was called Pesach which literally means the mouth is now open for proper conversation. The focus of redemption and reinstating our relationship with our spouse is on the power and proper function ability of speech. Sefirahs Haomer is the time when one must pay close attention to his dibbur and its ramifications תנו פה. By working and toiling to achieve this inyan during sefirah, we will be zoche to come to the yom tov of Shevoos to hear the aseres hadibros, the ultimate dibbur from Hashem. For it is on this Yom Tov that we bring the karban of שתי הלחם a karban [bread] relating to man the category of medabair in contrast to the karban of barley [omer on the 2nd day of Pesach] which corresponds to the category of behama that relates to the animalistic and unbridled behavior of man.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}