”Lashon Hara” and the inspiration of Mr Peabody’s Apples
As Madonna herself says in her book, Mr Peabody’s Apples is inspired by
a nearly 300 year old story by “The Baal Shem Tov, which translated into english means “The master of the good name”
The life of Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov is surrounded by mystery. As founder of what is possibly the single most important religious movement in Jewish history, Chassidus, many legends have grown around him and it is difficult to know what is historical fact. Even the year of his birth is a matter of controversy, some sources say it was 1700.
In Mr Peabdoy Apples, a story about the power of words, lies an important concept explained very well by The Baal Shem Tov.
It’s the “Lashon Hara” which can be translated as “The evil tongue“.
The Baal Shem Tov explains that “Lashon hara (evil tongue) “kills three people”: the inventor of the slander, the one who relates it and the listener. And adds that this kind of “spiritual murder” in many ways can be considered more severe than physical murder.”
Madonna Tribe did a quick research on the work and teaching of The Baal Shem Tov, and we’ve found the essence of the story told by Madonna in
one of his tales.
It’s the story of a man that tells lies about the Rabbi of his community. When he understands that what he did was wrong he feels remorse and goes to the Rabbi and begs his forgiveness, saying he would do anything he could to make amends.
The Rabbi tells the man, “Take a feather pillow, cut it open, and scatter the feathers to the winds“. The man thinks this is a strange request, but it’s a simple enough task, and he does it gladly. When he returns to tell the Rabbi that he had done it, the Rabbi says, “Now, go and gather the
feathers. Because you can no more make amends for the damage your words have done than you can recollect the feathers.”
Evil tongue has been compared by the Baal Shem Tov to an arrow that once released cannot be stopped or recalled. Likewise, the words spoken once released cannot be stopped from harming their intended target . . . the character and soul of another.
The person who listens to gossip is sometimes viewed even worse than the person who tells the story, because no harm could be done by gossip if no one listened to it. As we mentioned before, the lashon hara “kills three people”: the person who speaks it, the person who hears it, and the person about whom it is told.
Madonna develops the concept of “Lashon Hara” in the little town of Happville, where little Tommy Tittlebottom, quickly jumps to the conclusion that his teacher is a thief and spreads the word. Mr Peabody teaches him the lesson that words can really harm, while the feathers are carried away by the wind.
Article by The Immaculate for Madonna Tribe