By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir
“Remember what G-d did to Miriam on your way out of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 24:9). Rashi
comments, “If you would like to avoid being smitten with leprosy, speak no Lashon Hara
[evil gossip]. Remember what was done to Miriam, who spoke about her brother and was
Why must we recall precisely the failure of Moses’s sister Miriam, the most important and
pedigreed woman in Israel? The Torah was teaching us that even important people
unfortunately are liable to speak Lashon Hara. As we see from Miriam, importance and
greatness do not immunize one from Lashon Hara and its bitter consequences.
Another major principle derived from Miriam about guarding the tongue is this: The greatest
amount of Lashon Hara is spoken within the family. Parents sometimes speak it about their
children, children about their parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, in-laws about one another,
precisely the same way that Aaron and Miriam, from the most prestigious family in Israel,
fell prey to Lashon Hara when Miriam spoke about Moses. Therefore, the main effort to
guard the tongue, an act that purifies the soul, has to take place within the home.
Today, we are in the midst of the month of Selichot, days in which man seeks to rectify his
relationship with G-d and with his fellow man, a time of repentance and purifying the soul.
At this time, our greatest effort at rectification must take place within the home -- both the
private and the national home.
Every Jew in his own home must increase his good thoughts. These will lead to positive
speech and to good deeds. As far as our national home, our national leaders must be careful
not to speak evil about one another. By such means we will emerge meritorious on Rpsh
Hashanah and be sealed for a life of goodness and peace.
Looking forward to complete salvation,