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Is it a Mitzva to speak Loshon Kodesh? (sources)

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@DoubleAA Actually, "loshon kodesh" is correct, since it's only סמיכות if the second word is using the definite article. (Though I do think that he meant "loshon ha `` kodesh." –  b a Aug 22 '12 at 3:42
    
@ba Ha I had read it as lashon hakodesh until you pointed that out! I don't think I've heard the name lashon kodesh before. –  Double AA Aug 22 '12 at 4:09
    
-1 for the סמיכות. –  Seth J Aug 30 '12 at 1:40
    
@SethJ Is ba's above comment not right? –  Double AA Aug 30 '12 at 2:39

4 Answers 4

No. Source: Sefer Hachinuch. Generally following the Rambam, he lists all 613 mitzvos, and this is not one of them.

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We all know halacha is not just a list of 613 one-sentenced rules. –  Double AA Jan 12 '12 at 20:30
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@DoubleAA, but he asked if there's a mitzva. –  msh210 Jan 12 '12 at 20:32
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he didn't ask if it was one of the 613 mitzvos. other things are included in the common term "mitzvah" such as other halachos d'oraysa, mizvos drabanan, or even positive deeds. –  Ariel K Jan 12 '12 at 20:56
    
Just to bolster Ari's point, Bar Ilan Responsa v17 shows 70% more results in its database for Mitzva/ot (Mi)Derabanan than Mitzva/ot (Mi)Deoraita. –  Double AA Aug 22 '12 at 4:07
    
@DoubleAA, there are seven(?) of those (asin, anyway, IIRC). This isn't one of them, either. –  msh210 Aug 22 '12 at 16:34

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.

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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.

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Which Lubavitcher Rebbe are you referring to in the last bit: the 5th? The 7th? The 1st? –  Double AA Jan 12 '12 at 21:41
    
@DoubleAA Last. –  Shmuel Brin Jan 13 '12 at 2:46
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Whenever I hear answers like this, I want to say. The previous generations were more holy than I, I am not holy enough to keep mitzvot, I shouldn't degrade the holy mitzvot by thinking I am holy enough to perform them. I will make up my own chol mitzvot so that it's not an issue :P –  avi Jan 13 '12 at 9:38
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"Moreover, it says that one is forbidden to put Lashon...": Where is that 'it'? –  Double AA Aug 22 '12 at 3:13
    
...except that it is our national language, it was (variably) spoken, and it has mundane words. –  Seth J Aug 30 '12 at 1:42

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.)

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Good find! ||||| –  Double AA Aug 30 '12 at 2:54
    
+1, but note that he then calls it rak maala g'dola. –  msh210 Aug 30 '12 at 5:20
    
@msh210 I think in context the rak is not as belittling as it seems from your comment. He seems quite serious about the maala g'dola status. –  Double AA Aug 30 '12 at 5:30

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