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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.
Inquiring about a
- I’m interested in a fellow named Shlomo as a possible shiduch
for my daughter. Hitherto, I’ve only heard positive things about him.
May I inquire about him, even if it might lead to loshon horah?
- Yes you may; since your intention is not to hear negative
information, but rather, to find out if the fellow is suitable for your
daughter. However, it is important to adhere to the following conditions:
- You must inform the one from whom you are inquiring of
the reason for your inquiry, for the following 2 reasons.
1. So that they shouldn’t suspect that you’re seeking to hear loshon
2. So that the one of whom you are inquiring will share with you the
information for a legitimate reason and thereby not violate the prohibition of
speaking loshon horah.
- You should not believe negative information that you may hear,
with certainty but rather, merely suspect that it might be true and as a
result, proceed with caution.
- Do not inquire from someone who you know has a disliking
for Shlomo. It is very likely that he will lie, or at least exaggerate,
a shortcoming of Shlomo’s. In addition, you will cause him to sin; for
he will certainly not share with you the information for your benefit,
but rather, out of hatred for Shlomo.
- But if I tell this fellow that I’m asking about Shlomo for
the purpose of a shidduch, I know he won’t be upfront with me and I won’t
get the information that I need.
- Please consider the following 2 points:
- Would you sell a Jew non-kosher food in order to make a
profit? In other words, just because you stand to gain from the loshon
horah, doesn’t justify causing your fellow Jew to sin.
- It is possible to get the information you want without
causing the fellow to sin. Try the following approach: Call the fellow
aside and say something along these lines: “My friend there is something
I need to ask of you. Please tell me the truth, without exaggeration,
and you will not be sinning; since both of our intentions are for a
legitimate cause. I promise that I will not reveal to anyone what you’ve
told me”. Then go on to explain the matter and why you are asking. With
this approach, it is likely that you will obtain the information that you
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: We mentioned 7 possible causes that can lead a
person to freely speak loshon horah. They were:
Menaseh: We were last discussing the evils of
frivolity and vain speech. Did you want to continue on that topic?
Oded: Yes; may I share with some words from the
Vilna Gaon’s famous letter?
Oded: The posuk in Koheles states: “All the toil of
a person is for his mouth”. The Medrash in Koheles tells us that this means
that all the Torah and mitzvos of a person, are not enough to counter that
which he emits from his mouth.
Menaseh: Are you saying that if you put the Torah
and mitzvos of a person on one side of a scale and his vain and forbidden
speech on the other side, his Torah and mitzvos will be out weighed?
Menaseh: So what is one to do?
Oded: The Vilna Gaon continues by quoting the Gemora
in Chulin. The Gemora states: “What is the profession of a person in this
world? To make himself like a mute and seal his lips like 2 grindstones.
Menaseh: So the only way a person can be assured
that his sins will not outweigh his merits is by learning how to remain silent
Oded: Precisely. Tomorrow I will share with you
additional excerpts from the Vilna Gaon’s letter.
If you have any
questions regarding these lessons, feel free to contact Rabbi Faivel Adelman by
hitting the reply button.
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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 4 Par.
2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 4 Par. 11
Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Sha’ar Hatevunah Chap. 13