Saturday, March 20, 2010

Can You Keep A Secret?

The Torah tells us in parsha Vayikra “And He [Hashem] called to Moshe, and Hashem spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying..." [Vayikra - Leviticus 1:1]

This verse seems to be repetitive. The beginning of the verse says “And He [Hashem] called to Moshe…” and the end of the verse states “saying.” Therefore, the last word in the verse “saying” seems to be superfluous. We know that nothing in the Torah is superfluous, thus, the Sages learn a spiritually fulfilling lesson from the this verse. The Talmud [Yoma 4b] explains that the word “saying” denotes: "What I am about to say, you may say to others."

Consequently, we learn that a person has no right to repeat what someone tells him unless that person gives him explicit permission to do so. [Love Your Neighbor, parshas Vayikra p.216 Reb Zelig Pliskin]

The Talmud relates that a certain student revealed a secret that was twenty-two years old. Rabbi Ami expelled him from the Bais Hamedrash (study hall) saying "this person is a revealer of secrets." [Ibid. citing Sanhedrin 31a]

A person should be careful not to disclose his own secrets to others. Before someone reveals a secret, he is the secret's master. But once a person reveals his secret, the secret is his master, for he lives in fear that it will become known to others. [ibid. citing Menoras Hamaor 2:4] A wise man once joked: “I can keep a secret, but the people I tell cannot.” [Rabbi Avrohom Braun – Monsey, New York]

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