Lesson 24c Teshuva when damage hasn’t yet occured – For those who don’t remember whom they’ve spoken about
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 23; 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 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 #23, 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 lesson 23. I will place before you the text of the 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 Yonah. Since these
lessons are based on the 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…” Regarding how to
proceed in such a situation, one should consult with a competent halachic
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 mentioned previously that we should
brace ourselves to spend $400-$500 a year on acquiring the midda of letting
things pass. You said it is similar to other mitzvos which we would be
prepared to spend money in order to fulfill. Is this midda actually a mitzvah?
Oded: It’s not one of the 613 mitzvos but it’s a
nice way to conduct ones self. Especially in light of the fact that with our
limited minds we don’t always know when it’s appropriate to stand our ground a
when it’s not. Many times we imagine that someone caused us harm that deserves
a response when in fact it might not be as we perceived. Our biases often skew
our judgment. Therefore, if one does not have the midda of letting things
pass, he can come to violate many sins.
Menaseh: You say that we should prepare ourselves to
spend $400-$500 on acquiring this midda. I’m afraid I can’t afford to
constantly be spending $400-$500.
Oded: If you look carefully you’ll notice that most
of the interpersonal matters that irk us and lead to loshon horah and strife
are over relatively small matters. We are not talking about large sums of
money but rather a few dollars here and there. That’s why if you brace
yourself to spend a few hundred dollars a year on acquire this midda you will
likely succeed. As our sages teach us; one who comes to purify himself
receives heavenly assistance.
If you have any
questions regarding these lessons, feel free to contact Rabbi Faivel Adelman clicking here.
If you know others
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
signing them onto this program!!
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 Section 1 Chasimas HaSefer Chap. 5