Lesson 25c Irreparable loshon horah – Inquiring about old friends

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Lesson #25b

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Irreparable loshon


  1. What kind of loshon horah should I be most careful to
  1. All loshon horah is awful and needs to be completely
    avoided.  However, one needs to be especially careful to avoid the
    following, as teshuva is almost impossible:
  • Habitual loshon horah:  As mentioned in lesson 24,
    if one habitually speaks loshon horah, he/she will not remember all the
    people they have slandered.  As such, it is impossible to seek their
    forgiveness and teshuva cannot be effectuated.
  • Family Malignment:  If one maligns a family, he
    can cause damage to all future generations as well, making atonement

Inquiring about
old friends


  1. When I meet someone from my old neighborhood, I tend to
    inquire as to how my old buddies are faring.  Is this okay?
  1. Such a course of conversation often leads to loshon horah;
    therefore, it should be avoided.  There is no benefit in knowing negative
    information about former neighbors, unless, you are able and willing to
    influence them to change their ways.


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:  A person who makes a stand over every little
thing will certainly end up transgressing many speech related sins. He is very
likely to come to poverty as a result.

Menaseh:  What does poverty have to do with it?

Oded:  Our sages teach us that through loshon horah a
person comes to poverty.  Let me share with you a parable that I think will
illustrate the ridiculousness of this approach.

Menaseh:  Which approach?

Oded:  The approach of taking a stand on every little

Menaseh:  Go right ahead!

Oded:  There was a miser who used to be so stingy that
he wouldn’t even give from his bread to the needy.  Over the course time he
succeeded in hording a few thousand dollars through his miserliness.  He was
always thinking of other expenses to cut so that he could horde even more
money.  He decided that he would start cutting from his own food consumption. 
The first month he cut his food intake by a quarter of what he was accustomed
to.  By the second month he decided to cut it down to half.  He was very happy
with his new found source of penny-pinching; he didn’t even take notice of the fact
that he was becoming weak from his starvation diet.  As he accustomed himself to
his meager diet he decided to cut his food consumption by another quarter
during the third month.  He began noticing his that he was getting weak and
went to see a doctor.  The doctor checked him and said: “I see your suffering from
undernourishment.  I don’t really have a cure for your condition.  I may have
one potion that can possibly cure you from your illness but it will cost you
thousands of dollars.”  Upon hearing this, the miser quickly fled the doctor’s
office.  However, after awhile he saw that his situation was deteriorating.  He
returned to the doctor and told him: “Quickly, give me the potion; I feel I’m
on the threshold of death.”  The doctor said: “Fine; but before I prescribe the
medication I must know the source of your illness so that I can adjust the
medication accordingly.”  The miser turned to him and said: “I must hang my
head in shame and tell you that I brought it upon myself.  Over the past few
months I starved myself to save a few dollars.”  The doctor replied: “Fool! 
You horded a few hundred dollars by skimping on your food but you endangered
your life.  Who knows if the medication is even going to work?  Additionally,
you saved yourself a few hundred dollars but now you are going to have to spend
thousands of dollars to restore your health.”

Menaseh:  That’s a very interesting story.  How
though, does it apply to our topic?

Oded:  Someone who takes a stand on every perceived
infringement might gain a few dollars from his “standing up for his rights” but
in the long run he loses big.

Menaseh: How?

Oded:  This approach leads to much forbidden speech. 
He will amass a great amount of sins and he will most likely lose anything he
has gained and then some, as loshon horah leads to poverty.

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