Lesson 11c loshon horah in jest-leaving out the names-underhanded loshon horah
Please verbalize or
have in mind that you are studying this material as a merit for a specific
single and/or Jewish singles throughout the world.
horah in jest
- I’m a kibitzer and I often make jokes about friends. I do
it in good humor and have no intentions of causing harm. Is that okay?
- Not really. If you speak derogatory words about a fellow
Jew, even if you have no intention of degrading him, i.e. you spoke in
jest; you are still violating the prohibition against speaking loshon
Leaving out the
- I don’t like speaking loshon horah so what I often will
tell the story but leave out the names. Is that okay?
- It depends. If the listeners can’t figure out whom it’s
about, then it’s okay. If they can, you’re in violation of speaking
loshon horah. As a matter of fact, even if you don’t mention his name and
there’s nothing derogatory in your speech about the person, but you’ve
caused him harm and that was your intention, you have transgressed the
prohibition of speaking loshon horah.
- That one went over my head. Can you give me an example?
- Sure! The Gemora Yerushalmi (Meseches Peah Chap. 1 Hal.1)
relates the following: There was once a workforce setting out to work. One
of the workers, a fellow named Bar Chovetz, didn’t show up that day. His
coworkers, in an attempt to surreptitiously bring this to the attention of
the taskmaster, began asking each other: “what shall we eat today?” One
of them responded: “let’s eat chuvtzah”, a type of legume. When the
taskmaster heard this he exclaimed: “hey, that reminds me, where is Bar
Chovetz”. This, said Rebbi Yochanan, is considered underhanded loshon
horah. Notice, nothing negative was said about Bar Chovetz, nor was his
This section is
formatted as a conversation between Oded and Menaseh. Oded is encouraging his
friend Menaseh to be more careful in guarding his tongue from evil speech. The
thoughts in this section are primarily based on the sefer, Shmiras Haloshon.
Oded: Guarding ones tongue is especially beneficial
for one who has a set time for Torah learning in the Beis Medrash.
Menaseh: Why is that?
Oded: For 2 reasons. 1) If one engages in loshon
horah he will diminish the words of torah that he learns daily. 2) His
learning will be piece meal; a sin which carries with it a grave punishment.
Menaseh: Really? What is the punishment?
Oded: The Gemora in Meseches Avoda Zara tells us
that one who interrupts words of Torah and busies himself with vain speech will
be fed coals of Rosem wood.
Menaseh: What’s that based on?
Oded: It’s based on a posuk in Iyov.
Menaseh: Can you explain to me the meaning and logic
Oded: Sure! One who learns Torah sustains his soul
in the world to come for eternity with its holy light. The light of Torah
doesn’t burn but to the contrary, sustains a person. Therefore, Torah is referred
to in Mishlei as bread, due to its sustaining properties. One who interrupts his
learning to speak about mundane matters is demonstrating that he is not
interested in this sustenance. Therefore, instead of receiving the light of
Torah as his sustenance he is given the fire generated by coals of Rosem wood.
Menaseh: I’m wondering if there is any special
significance to coals of Rosem as opposed to say coal of some other wood.
Oded: Actually there is. The Gemora in Bava Basra
tells us that coals of Rosem wood do not extinguish for a period of 12 months.
Menaseh: What’s the significance of that?
Oded: To demonstrate that this person is judged as a
Rosha whose sentence is 12 months of Gehinom. Here are the words of the Zohar:
“One who interrupts words of Torah for words of emptiness will have his life
cut short in this world and his judgment will remain in the world to come”.
If you have any
questions regarding these lessons, feel free to contact Rabbi Faivel Adelman clicking here.
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who would appreciate this program, please encourage them to join. The more
people participating, the greater the zechus! In addition, you will have a
share in the merit of anyone who improves their speech as a result of you
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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 3 Par.
2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 3 Par.4
Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 1 Chasimas HaSefer Chap. 2