Tuesday, January 26, 2010

209 - Shmos

"And a man went from the house of Levi and took a daughter [from the house] of Levi" (Shemos 2, 1). Why doesn't the Torah tell us the names of the individuals mentioned in the above pasuk? Rav Wolbe (Shiurei Chumash) explains that Chazal say that three things are hidden from people, and one of them is the day of redemption. Redemption originates from one of the higher worlds - realms which we cannot comprehend at all. In other words it is a secret. Hence, the birth of the redeemer of Bnei Yisroel is completely shrouded in secrecy, and until the redemption actually materializes, the Torah doesn't even let us know the name of his parents.

With this concept we can understand another pasuk in this week's parsha. After smiting the Egyptian, Moshe observes a Jew about to hit his fellow Jew and he chastises the would be offender. The latter retorts, "Are you going to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?" "And Moshe was afraid and he said behold the thing has become known" (ibid. 2, 14). Rashi explains, Moshe was worried that since there were gossipmongers among Bnei Yisroel, they might not be worthy of redemption. We must ask why they would forfeit the redemption just because there were gossipmongers among them. Rav Wolbe answers that as explained above, the redemption is a secret, and those who cannot keep a secret lack the ability to be a recipient of that redemption.

Moreover, gossipmongers are the very reason why Bnei Yisroel were placed in galus in the first place. Moshe cried out, "Behold the thing has become known." Rashi explains that Moshe had wondered why specifically the Jews, out of all nations, were subjected to galus - and now the reason became known. It was because there were gossipmongers that Bnei Yisroel were punished with galus. Rav Wolbe explains once again with the above mentioned concept. The Jewish Nation's uniqueness revolves around penimius, while the other nations of the world are focused on the chitzonius. If a Jew cannot keep a secret, then he lacks basic penimius and hence, his place is in galus among the other nations of the world.

If we lack our penimius, then, G-d forbid, we are not much different from the gentiles who live around us. One of the best ways to maintain our penimius is by assuring that things that should be kept secret are kept secret, thereby staying as far away from lashon hara as possible.

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