Is it a Mitzva to speak Loshon Kodesh? (sources)
- Anybody can ask a question
- Anybody can answer
- The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
The Rambam in Perush Hamishnayos Avos Perek 2:1 says that a Mitzva Kala is learning Loshon Kodesh.
Harav Yitzchak Yosef in Yalkut Yosef Hilchos Talmud Torah Seif Koton 78 also says it is a Mitzva.
See Igros Moshe Even Haezer 3:35 where he says it is a mitzvah to speak lashon hakodesh based of Sifri (Devarim Piska 46) which is quoted by Rashi on the verse of l'daber bam (Devarim 11:19). (The tshuvah is focused on non Jewish names.)
The Fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe writes that one should not speak Lashon Hakodesh as a day-to-day language.
As Lashon Hakodesh is a holy language, one shouldn't use it for mundane speech. Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai said that if he would have been by Mt. Sinai, he would have asked for Jews to have another mouth, one to talk about one's needs and one with which to learn Torah. If one shouldn't talk with the same mouth Dvarim Bteilim and Torah, all the more so one shouldn't talk Davrim Beteilim in a holy language.
All the more so if someone will be talking forbidden words (Lashon Hara, lies, etc.) in a holy tongue. Moreover, it says that one is forbidden to put Lashon Hakodesh words into a song (even though songs aren't inherently something forbidden).
He explains the Yerushalmi (which says "He who lives in Israel, speaks Lashon Hakodesh, eats its fruit in purity and says Shma by day and by night is guaranteed a portion in the world to come.") as referring to one which possesses holiness of the place ("Lives in Israel"), holiness of the body ("eating the fruits"), and holiness of the soul ("speaks Lashon Hakodesh and says Krias Shma").
Moreover, he says that the common man only spoke Lashon Hakodesh during the first Temple (as they were very holy people). However, by the second Beis Hamikdash all commoners (as in non-Tanayim and Amorayim) spoke Aramaic.
Moreover, after the time of the Gemara, even Torah Scholars stopped using Lashon Hakodesh, as the spiritual level of the generation decreased.
Therefore, he says that one shouldn't speak Lashon Hakodesh as a day to day language.
The last Lubavitcher Rebbe points out, though, that nowadays modern Hebrew is no longer an issue as it absorbed enough non-Lashon Hakodesh words that it became just another language.
No. Source: Sefer Hachinuch. Generally following the Rambam, he lists all 613 mitzvos, and this is not one of them.