Thursday, November 23, 2006

Rabbeinu Yonah on "Shtuchs"

(With the commentary of Rav Mattisyahu Salomon Shlit"a):

Shaarei Teshuva III:174

"And this is the topic of the sect of scoffers. Mockery is divided into five parts.

The first part, [This is the lowest of the five] is a man with a (sharp) tongue, who finds, and expresses, faults in people, as it says: "You sit and speak against your brother, you slander your mother's son"; And he is called a Letz, as it states: "The boastful, willful man, scoffer is his name; the arrogant evildoer, he is a willful man" - meaning, the two negative traits which are malice and arrogance, have been gathered and combined in the Letz, for, without him having any benefit from the matter, he causes tremendous harm to his peers, befouling their fragrance in the eyes of people, and this is the ultimate malice, more so than one who robs and takes unlawfully, who is doing so to increase his money.

RMS: This type of person, it does not bother him to say or give a 'shtuch' to another, and to receive only glory for himself from this, and this is the merging of cruelty and arrogance.
He is also arrogant, for one who is humble and submissive, when he recognizes his own deficiencies and blemishes, will not scoff at other people. And our Rabbis, of blessed memory, said, 'In the future, all the wild animals will come to the snake and tell him: 'A lion kills his prey and eats it, and wolf preys on his food and eats it, you, what benefit do you have?' He will tell them: 'And what benefit does a possessor of a tongue have?', as it says: 'If the snake bites because it was not charmed, there is no advantage to the charmer's (the tongue possessor's) art'.

RMS: And because of this he is inferior, for regarding theft, at least he has some benefit from the money, which is not true for the tongue possessor, where he has no benefit from his scoffery. However, one could ask, that there is pleasure for the tongue possessor, because he has enjoyment from what he says and he has a 'geshmak' when he says things like these? The answer is that he has no physical pleasure, and he has nothing left from it. Just like the snake, whatever it eats has the taste of dust, and therefore it does not have to bite people. As opposed to a lion, who kills his prey to eat it, and that is its pleasure, and so too a thief, he has the benefit of the money. But a Letz - a person who has cruelty and arrogance, making him into a scoffer - he has no practical benefit from his speech. He is the first of this group.]

This segment of the sect is also part of the sect of people who tell Lashon Hara.

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