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A Surprising Reward for Abstaining from Lashon Hara
Over a decade ago, I posted my all-time favorite post, which relates to this week's parashah:
This week, my adorable five-year-old son was telling me what he had learned about the parashah. He said, "If we say lashon hara, then we get bad things on our skin, and if we don't say lashon hara, we get long animals."
I had been slightly distracted by the antics of one of my other kids, but my attention snapped back at the last part of his sentence. "What did you say?" I asked, unsure if I had heard correctly.
"My moreh said that if we don't say lashon hara, we get long animals." He paused, and looked confused. "Aba, is that really true? Will we get long animals?"
My mind struggled to understand what was going on. I know that with my son being in a Hebrew-speaking preschool, sometimes the teacher's words get lost in translation. But what on earth had the teacher said?
Suddenly, I had a burst of inspiration.
"Oy vey!" I said. "Chayyim aruchim does not mean 'long animals,' it means 'long life'! It's chayyim aruchim, not chayyot aruchot!"
A few years later, I happened to be dining with Shimon Peres, and I told him this story. He replied with a story of his own. Once he was at an event, and the host, who was not Israeli but was eager to show that he knew some Hebrew, raised a toast and said LeChaim! And then the host raised his drink to the women and said LeChayot!
A few years ago, my youngest son (pictured here with one of his favorite creatures) was telling me what he had learned in school about Yom Ha'Atzma'ut. He said that we got Israel from the British, and the British got it from the parrots.
"What? What did you say?" I asked, unsure if I had heard correctly.
"My moreh said that we got it from the Britim, and the Britim got it from the tukim, from the parrots." He looked confused. "Aba, did they really get it from the parrots?"
"Oy vey!" I said. "Not tukim, Turkim! The Turks!"
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