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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.
Teshuva when the
damage has not yet occurred
- I said something about a business associate that has not
yet harmed him, but has the potential of causing him damage in the
future. Do I need to seek his forgiveness?
- You certainly must seek Hashem’s forgiveness by follow the
three steps of teshuva mentioned in lesson 23b; i.e. regret, Vidui and
resolution for the future. As far as seeking your associate’s forgiveness,
since no damage has yet been done, the Chofetz Chaim Zt”l was in doubt as
to whether you need to seek his forgiveness. It is certainly advisable to
try and undo the potential damage before it occurs. If eventually the
damaged does occur, even if you’ve already sought Hashem’s forgiveness, you
must now, certainly, appease the one whom you’ve harmed.
Teshuva for those
who don’t remember whom they’ve spoken about
- I hate to admit this, but I’ve spoken so much loshon horah
that I don’t even remember whom I’ve spoken about. How can I do Teshuva
under these circumstances?
- In such a situation, writes the Chofetz Chaim, teshuva is
almost impossible. As mentioned in lesson #23b, an integral part of
Teshuva between man and his friend is attaining forgiveness from the one
whom you’ve harmed. Since you don’t remember all those whom you’ve sinned
against, you obviously can’t seek their forgiveness. (This should serve
as a major motivation to break the bad habit of speaking loshon horah.)
However, writes the Chovos Halevovos, the gates of teshuva are never fully
closed. If a person does all the steps of teshuva that he possibly can
and returns to Hashem with all his heart, Hashem, may either manipulate
circumstances in a way that will allow him to do a proper teshuva, or give
him a pass on what he wasn’t able to do.
A few of our participants had a question regarding Halacha
#2 in yesterday’s lesson. I will place before you the text of yesterday’s Halacha
in question, a synopsis of their question, and my response.
- I spoke loshon horah about a friend. She doesn’t know
that I spoke about her. Must I inform her? It will cause me much
- According to the Chofetz Chaim Zt”l, you must reveal to
your friend that you spoke loshon horah about her and beg her for
forgiveness. As Chazal teach us, it is much better to be disgraced all
our days here in this world, than to be considered a Rasha in the eyes of
Hashem, for even one moment.
Reader’s question: I have
heard that if informing the one whom I’ve spoken about will cause him
embarrassment or hurt, then it is better not to inform him. Is this true?
Response: There is reputed
to be a dispute between R’ Yisroel Salanter and the Chofetz Chaim regarding
this issue. R’ Yisroel Salanter is quoted as saying, what right do I have to
do Teshuva for my sin, at someone else’s expense. The Chofetz Chaim, on the
other hand, clearly states that if you’ve caused harm to a fellow Jew and he is
not yet aware of it, you must inform him and seek his forgiveness. The Chofetz
Chaim bases his words on Sefer Shaarei Teshuva by Rabbainu Yona. Since I am basing
these lessons on Sefer Chofetz Chaim, I brought down his opinion regarding this
issue. I did allude to the fact that there is another opinion on the matter by
stating: “According to the Chofetz Chaim…”; however, I probably should have
been more specific. Regarding how to proceed in such a situation, one should
consult with a competent halachic authority.
(The above is assuming that
damage has already been caused. If no damage has been caused to your friend,
you do not need to seek his forgiveness, as mentioned in yesterday’s lesson.
If damage has not yet been caused but is impending, the Chofetz Chaim has a
doubt as to whether one must seek his forgiveness before the damage actually
happens, as mentioned in today’s lesson, Halacha #1.)
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: Do you have more to say about frivolity?
Oded: Yes; frivolity has many detrimental effects.
Menaseh: Such as?
Oded: The Gemora in Meseches Avoda Zara says in the
name of Rebbi Elazar: “All those who engage in buffoonery, suffering will come
upon them”. As a matter of fact, Rava, warned his students and said: “Please
do not engage in buffoonery so as not to bring suffering upon yourselves”.
Menaseh: Was it really necessary for Rava to warn
his students, who were no doubt great sages, not to engage in buffoonery?
Oded: Rabainu Yona writes in Sefer Shaarei Teshuva
that even occasional and casual buffoonery is prohibited. Rava’s students
certainly did not engage in buffoonery on a consistent basis, but Rava felt it
necessary to warn them about even occasional and casual clowning around.
Menaseh: Are there other detrimental effects that
stem from frivolity?
Oded: Absolutely! A person’s sustenance is
diminished as a result. Additionally, the whole world is punished on account
of a buffoon. As the Gemora states, “A buffoon causes destruction to the
Menaseh: So to sum up what you’ve said; frivolity is
a major cause of loshon horah. It is essential that a person avoid frivolous
speech to prevent himself from speaking loshon horah. Additionally, frivolous
speech is in itself a great sin that results is severe punishments; therefore,
a person must learn to seal his lips from vain speech.
Oded: Correct. As a matter of fact, even merely
sitting with people who are engaged in frivolous speech is a sin.
Menaseh: Even if he doesn’t participate?
Oded: Yes. It is stated in Avos D’Rebbi Nosson,
that one who attaches himself to those who are committing sin, even if he is
not sinning with them, he will be punishment like them.
Menaseh: Why is sitting with them so severe?
Oded: Lest you come to learn from their ways. One should
keep company only with those who engage in words of Torah and service of Hashem.
Though this you will benefit both in this world and in the next.
If you have any
questions regarding these lessons, feel free to contact Rabbi Faivel Adelman by
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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 4 Be’er
Mayim Chaim 48
2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 4 Par. 12; Chovos
Halevovos Chap. 10
Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Sha’ar Hatevunah Chap. 13