Lesson 12

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Lesson #12

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Deceptive Loshon


  1. If someone speaks loshon horah casually, as if he doesn’t
    know that what he’s saying is loshon horah, is that considered loshon
  1. It most certainly is.  This form of loshon horah is dubbed
    by our sages as “deceptive loshon horah”.  An example of this would be the
    Gemora Yerushalmi that we mentioned in yesterday’s lesson (see appendix

Loshon Horah
that’s derogatory but causes no harm


  1. My brother relayed to me some negative information about a
    sibling, but I didn’t believe him.  I’m wondering if that would be
    considered a violation of loshon horah on his part, since his words ended
    up causing no harm.
  1. It would still be considered loshon horah.  As mentioned
    previously, loshon horah is defined as any form of communication that causes
    harm, even if it’s not derogatory; or, any form of communication that
    is derogatory, even if it causes no harm
    .  As a matter of fact, even
    if your brother knew from the outset that you would not believe him, he
    would still be in violation of loshon horah, since he spoke derogatory
    words against a fellow Jew.



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.

Menaseh:  You explained the posuk that commands us to
remember what happened to Miriam, so beautifully.  I’m wondering if you would
be able to briefly summarize the posuk with your insights.

Oded:  Absolutely!  The posuk states the following:

“Remember what Hashem your G-d did to Miriam
on the way when you left Egypt”.

There are 4 things that we need to zero in on, to have a
deeper understanding of the posuk.  They are as follows:

  1. What:  Hashem smote Miriam with tzoras which is a
    very severe form of impurity that cannot be cured naturally.  One who has
    tzoras must leave civilization and is considered dead.
  2. Who:  This severe punishment was brought upon
    Miriam who was a prophetess and a very righteous woman.  Her intentions
    were only for Moshe’s good and she revealed the loshon horah only to her
    very modest brother, Aharon.
  3. Where:  This terrible punishment was brought upon
    Miriam while the Jewish nation was traveling.  This was a source of great
    embarrassment to her, as the entire nation had to stop and wait for 7 days
    until she was healed.
  4. When:  This incident occurred shortly after the
    Jewish people left Egypt.  They had not yet learned about the severity of
    the sin of loshon horah.

Menaseh:  And what’s the point of all these insights?

Oded:  The point is that despite all the mitigating
factors, Hashem punished Miriam so severely.  It provides us with an added
insight into just how much Hashem despises the sin of loshon horah.  All of
Miriam’s tremendous merits could not save here from the awful punishment which
she received for her ever so small infraction.

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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 3 Par.

2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 3 Par. 6


Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Sha’ar Hatevunah Chap. 12


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.

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