New York – It was a time of horrific tragedies. Nevuchadnetzar the king of Babylonia had destroyed the first Bais HaMikdash. The brightest and the best of the nation of Israel were exiled to Bavel. However, a small remnant of Jews were allowed to remain in Eretz Yisroel. They were to be led by Gedaliah Ben Achikam.
Gedaliah Ben Achikam was one of the Gedolei HaDor of his generation. He was also a Navi . Indeed Gedaliah was of such a lofty stature that Hashem Himself testified as to his remarkable character (See Rosh HaShana 18b quoting Zechariah 8:19).
The King of Ammon was incensed that the Jewish nation still retained some sort of independence. He devised a plan, where he took a Jew – Yishmael Ben Nesanya and instructed him to assassinate Gedaliah, his men, and the Babylonians that accompanied him.
The future of Klal Yisroel was in the hands of Gedaliah. His decisions were of paramount importance. Notwithstanding his greatness and piety and the fact that he was a prophet of Hashem, Chazal tell us that he made a crucial error in halacha and in its application. Gedaliah refused to take protective measures against Yishmael, when he was warned by Yochanan Ben Korayach of Yishmael Ben Nesanya’s malevolent intent (Yirmiyahu 40:16).
The consequences were quite grave indeed. Gedaliah and all his men were brutally murdered (Yirmiyahu 41:2). The rest of the nation scattered and fled, thinking that the king of Bavel would take revenge against them.
The Gemorah tells us (Niddah 61a) that Gedaliah Ben Achikam misused the halachic concept of Lashon HaRah and applied it erroneously. It was a tragic error that resulted not only in his death, the scattering of the nation, but also in the loss of Klal Yisroel’s independence as a nation.
The results of Gedaliah’s inaction were so grave that the Mesilas Yesharim (chapter twenty) notes that the Gemorah (Niddah 61a) considers it as if Gedaliah himself had killed all of his people! This is a remarkably thought-provoking notion.
At times, the sin of incorrectly “sounding the Lashon Horah warning” and ignoring the information is so grave that one who does so is considered the actual perpetrator of the repercussions that have transpired on account of the silence, whether it be theft, molestation or even murder.
The conclusions from this are quite clear.
There are times that information must be given to ward off potential harm to others, in order that they be able to take self-protective measures. At the same time, there are situations where it is forbidden for people to believe the information, even though they may act upon it to protect themselves. At other times, information must be provided in order to prevent an Avla, a terrible injustice, from continuing to happen.
With the approval of Gedolim, Vosizneias is working on just such a story. It is a story of terrible injustice that is being perpetrated right now. It is an Avla that must be stopped. Stay tuned.