There is a “vort” – a Torah thought which Rav Schneur was wont to say which captured the very essence of his worldview. It is a vort which Rav Schneur said on many occasions-in fact his children Yibodlu Lachayim Tovim relate that this was the very last vort which he managed to say to his family before the ptirah:


Bigdei Kehuna-the clothes worn by the kohanim in Bais Hamikdosh-atoned for sins-each garment atoning for a different sin. one of the clothes was the Me’il (tunic):

The Talmud [Tractate Eruchin 16] states that the Me’il worn by Kohanim in the Bais Hamikdosh atoned for the sin of Loshon Hora (derogatory speech), “Let something which gives out sound (the Me’il had bells) atone for improper speech”

Why? What is the lesson one can learn from the Me’il which can counteract the tendency to speak derogatorily about others? asked Rav Schneur.

He answered that Loshon Hora (and for that matter discord and complaints that people have against each other) very often is baseless. It is rooted in a distorted interpretation or even a distorted view of the other man’s actions. There is no attempt to delve deeper, to understand the reason behind the act, to understand the act itself in its total context. There is no attempt to see the inner good in people, no attempt to judge them favorably, to honor and respect them. Getting a total picture and a deeper view might very well yield totally different and more favorable results.

Les d’yoda lishno bishoh k’homon” say chazal. No one spoke about others so unfavorably as Homon spoke of Klal Yisroel: “Look at the Jews” he said, “They never work! Today they tell you it’s their Sabbath-tomorrow it’s their Holiday. Every day there is another excuse to get out of working” complained Homon to King Achashveirosh.

Was there really grounds for complaint, asked Rav Schneur? On the contrary. If we study Haman’s words we will see how in reality he said shiroh, - a song of praise about Klal Yisroel. Our adherence to Shabbosos and Yomim Tovim are our praise! They show our devotion to Hashem and his Torah. Why then is it called Loshon Hora? The answer is as above - on the contrary - that is exactly why chazal call Homon a Baal Loshon Hora. He took what was beautiful and praiseworthy- looked at it from a hating, distorted and superficial viewpoint and turned “Gold” into “dross”!.



The antidote to that--the “refuah” is Me’il. The Me’il was made of Tcheiles. Tcheiles domeh lyam-Tcheiles is a color similar to that of the ocean. The ocean is similar to the heavens. The heavens have a color similar to the vision seen by the Nvi'im (prophets) of the Kesei Hakovod-Hashem’s throne which hovers, so to speak, way above the universe. And we are expected to make the connection and remember the Kisei Hakovod before we speak about others.

With a “Kisei Hakovod” view, one sees the entire universe at one time, past present and future. When applied to people and events this means getting the whole picture, looking below the surface, judging favorably, seeing qualities and value in people not readily apparent. It can mean seeing their point of view. Then what appears to you to be a cause for complaint and for Loshon Horah-may very well not be that at all. On the contrary, it just may be deserving of Shiroh, of praise.

Rav Schneur's son in law, Rav Dovid Schustal shlita, remembers the scene that last Shabbos very well: Rav Schneur zt'l was sitting in a chair, racked with pain; pitifully weak. So weak in fact that he could hardly think, let alone talk. But he forced himself to speak, word slowly after word, till he finished the entire "vort".

A Tzavo’oh - a spiritual will to his children; to his talmidim; to his Kehillah; to Klal Yisroel - A Tzavo’oh L’doros!


* * * * * *

Back | Next