Lesson 18c Flagrant violator of common knowledge prohibition and non-common knowledge prohibition

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Lesson #18c

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.


Loshon horah about
a flagrant violator of a common knowledge transgression


  1. An acquaintance of mine, transgresses a common knowledge
    sin on a regular basis.  Is it proper for me to publicize his
  1. If it’s the type of sin that every Jew knows is forbidden
    and he purposefully transgressed it numerous times, he is obviously a
    person who does not fear G-d.  As such, you may publicize his actions
    under the following conditions:
    1. You must have first hand knowledge of the information. (Unless,
      it’s common knowledge in the city that this fellow is a rosha.)
    2. You mustn’t exaggerate his transgressions, but rather tell
      it exactly as it is.
    3. Your intentions should be for the right reasons:

a.      So that people will distance themselves from such behavior when they
hear that people are degrading it.

b.      Perhaps the sinner will change his ways when he hears that people are
disparaging him over his sinful behavior.

c.       You should not speak out of personal hatred or for personal benefit,
but rather, for the sake of truth.

    1. You must degrade him publicly and not privately (unless
      you are concerned for your safety, or you suspect that doing so publicly,
      might lead to strife).

Note: There are situations
where it would not be appropriate to publicize his actions (i.e. if a person
grew up in a non-religious home, or if change is more likely to be affected, if
it is not publicized).  Therefore, one should consult with a competent halachic
authority before embarking on this course of action.  

A flagrant
violator of a prohibition that is not common knowledge


  1. My friend writes with an Etch-a-Sketch on Shabbos.  May I
    publicize his Shabbos desecration?
  1. Since the prohibition of writing with an Etch-a-Sketch on
    Shabbos might not be common knowledge, he must first be informed that it’s
    prohibited.  If after being informed he persists in his violation, showing
    blatant disregard for Hashem’s commandments, you may publicize his actions
    under the conditions mentioned above.  However, the person who informed
    him must be someone of stature and a respected authority on this matter,
    or, it must be shown to him in a sefer.  Otherwise, we must suspect that
    perhaps he didn’t take the one who informed him seriously.  (The above
    note applies in this case as well.)


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:  The mitzvah of guarding ones tongue, besides
being a very consistent and highly profitable mitzvah, is also a very urgent

Menaseh:  In what way?

Oded:  We know that the second Beis Hamikdash was
destroyed as a result of vain hatred and loshon horah.  If the sin of loshon
horah is so powerful that it can destroy the Beis Hamikdash, it most certainly
can prevent it from being rebuilt.

Menaseh:  You’ve convinced me!  I’m ready to
strengthen myself and cling to this mitzvah.

Oded:  Know that your merit is very great, especially
if you also influence others in this great matter for the honor of Hashem and
His Torah, so that its mitzvos shouldn’t be abandoned.

Menaseh:  How can I go about influencing others?

Oded:  The truth is it’s really not all that hard. 
Klal Yisroel are inherently upright and righteous.  The reason that some are
not careful regarding this mitzvah is often out of lack of knowledge of its
laws and out of a loss of ideas to guard against it.  Therefore, if someone
will awaken them to this matter, his words will certainly be accepted and the
merit of the multitudes will be a credit to him

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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 4 Par.
7 Be’er Mayim Chaim 32

2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 4 Par. 7 Be’er
Mayim Chaim 31


Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 1 Chasimas HaSefer Chap. 4

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