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"For Instruction shall come forth from Zion, The word of the L-rd from Jerusalem." -- Isaiah 2:3


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GENESIS — 2:7 soul

Rashi explains that even the animals are called nefesh chayim – a living soul; but that man has more life than all of the others, for in him was infused, in addition, intelligence and speech.  What Hashem breathed into man’s nostrils was, as it were, His own divine breath, and this life principle of man added to him intelligence and speech.  This power of speech is the crowning glory of man, derived, as it were, from Hashem Himself.  If a king would place his own crown on the head of his son, the crown prince, and the son would then take that crown and throw it into the mud, what greater rebellion could there be, and what greater denial of the majesty of the king? When man takes speech, which is the crowning glory bestowed on him by Hashem, and profanes it with forbidden words, what greater statement is there than “Who is our Master (Psalm 12:5)?" SEFER xxi

GENESIS — 3:1 any

The yetzer hara (evil inclination) may (try to) make the laws against evil speech (lashon hara) seem so stringent that the person will begin to think that everything is considered lashon hara, leading him to conclude that it is impossible for a person to refrain from transgressing and still live normally.  He’ll think that he needs to completely disconnect himself from worldly matters in order to avoid lashon hara.  This tactic is similar to that employed by the sly Serpent, who said to Chavah, “Perhaps Hashem said you shouldn’t eat from any tree in the garden.”  [The Serpent suggested that Hashem’s prohibition was not limited to one tree, the Tree of Knowledge, but included all the other trees in Gan Eden as well.  This made Chavah feel that it was impossible to abide by Hashem’s commandment, which prompted her to sin by eating from the one tree whose fruit was actually prohibited.].  SEFER 19

GENESIS — 9:23 covered

One must make sure to protect another person’s dignity in every possible way.  The Torah deliberately recounted to us the story of Noach, telling us how he became drunk and then exposed, and how his sons Shem and Yefes covered their father in order to save him from embarrassment.  The Torah also records the berachah that Noach subsequently gave Shem and Yefes, and describes how it was eventually fulfilled, to show us the importance of this quality of doing one’s utmost to save another person from humiliation, just as he would do for himself.  SEFER 51

GENESIS — 37:2 reports

Lashon hara was the main reason that Bnei Yisrael descended to Egypt, as the pasuk says [this verse].  Because of Yosef’s words, it was decreed in Heaven that he should be sold as a slave, which was a measure-for-measure punishment for his having said that his brothers called some of their brothers slaves, as the Midrash Genesis Rabbah 84:7 and the Yerushalmi [Jerusalem Talmud] in Peah 1:1.   Even though Yosef thought he had a reason that halachically justified relating this information, as the commentaries, explain, you see that no justification helped him, and he was punished nonetheless.  SEFER 31

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