Lesson 26c Summary of lessons 14-25
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Summary of lessons
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When do I need to judge my fellow Jew favorably? (lesson
1. A G-d fearing person: Under all circumstances, even if the less
favorable option seems more likely.
2. An Average person: If it’s 50%-50% you must judge him
favorably. If it seems more likely that he sinned, you are not required to
judge him favorably but you should consider it a doubt. It’s an extra measure
of righteousness to judge him favorably even in this circumstance.
3. A Rasha (malicious sinner): Even if it seems more likely that
he didn’t sin, you should judge him unfavorably.
Note: If you’ve
judged someone unfavorably when you should not have and based on that went and
revealed to others the sin that you think he committed (even if it’s the type
of sin that if committed, you would be permitted to reveal), you have violated
the prohibition of loshon horah as well as the commandment to judge your fellow
- When may I reveal someone’s sin (between man and G-d) and
when must I rebuke him? (sins between man and his friend will be
discussed in future lessons)
A Baal Teshuva’s past sins: Almost never. (Lesson 15)
Sins of ancestors or relatives of an upstanding
Jew: Almost never.
If you saw someone sin once: (Lesson 16)
A G-d fearing Talmid chacham: You may not
reveal it to anyone. You should rebuke at the time of the transgression. If
you were unable to, it’s a matter of doubt whether you should rebuke him the
An Average person: You may not reveal it to
anyone. You should rebuke him in a soft and gentle manner.
One who will not except rebuke: You should
not rebuke him. You may reveal his sin to a limited few. (Lesson 17)
a. Bais din: If you have another witness.
b. Relatives: If they will believe you and can effectively rebuke
c. His Rebbi: Under limited circumstances. (See Lesson
Flagrant transgressor: i.e. a person who shows
no concern for the mitzvos of Hashem or has repeatedly transgressed even one
A sin that is known to all: You may reveal
his sins publicly under the conditions delineated in lesson 18b.
A sin that is not known to all: You may not
publicize. However, if he was warned by a competent authority or was shown in
a sefer that it’s forbidden and he still persists in his ways, you may
publicize his actions.
A sin that is commonly rationalized: Same
Bad midda: You may not publicize; since
people generally don’t understand its true severity. (Lesson 20;
21 for an exception)
One who violates a ruling of Bais Din: Bais
Din may publicly reveal his violation under the conditions delineated in lesson 20.
Important Note: Before
publicizing anyone’s sins, a competent halachic authority should be consulted.
There are many factors that need to be carefully considered before taking such
Inquiring about a shidduch: One may inquire
about a shidduch under the following conditions: (Lesson 22)
1. You must inform the one of whom you’re inquiring, the reason for your
2. You must not believe any negative information, but merely suspect.
3. You may not inquire from one who has a dislike for the subject.
Inquiring about old friends: It should be
avoided, since it generally leads to loshon horah for no practical benefit. (Lesson 25)
Teshuva For Loshon horah: (Lesson 23)
1. Between man and Hashem: If the loshon horah caused no harm to
another Jew, then you are only obligated to do teshuva to Hashem. To do so,
one must feel remorse, verbally admit to the sin, and resolve
not to commit he sin in the future.
2. Between man and his fellow man: If the loshon horah caused harm
to a fellow Jew, in addition to the 3 steps of teshuva mentioned above, you
must seek the forgiveness of the one whom you’ve harmed.
3. The damage has not yet occurred: The Chofetz Chaim has a doubt
as to whether one must seek forgiveness currently, if the damage has not yet
4. The subject is not aware that you caused him/her harm: The
Chofetz Chaim holds that you must inform the subject. There are other opinions
on this matter; therefore, a competent halachic authority should be consulted. (Lesson 24 see
5. I don’t remember whom I’ve spoken about: This is often the
result of habitual loshon horah. It is nearly impossible to do teshuva in such
a situation; therefore, a person must speedily break the habit. (Lesson 24)
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: Can you elaborate a bit on how standing
your ground on every little matter leads to poverty?
Oded: Sure. Someone who is excessively protective
over his honor and possessions to the extent that any little infraction will
cause him to dig in his heals and not budge until what he perceives to be
rightfully his is restored to him, will compile a large amount of sins on a
Menaseh: Which sins?
Oded: Loshon horah, stirring up strife etc. It is
very possible that when the Day of Judgment comes around he will have amassed
more sins than merits through these additional sins. As a result, he will be
sentenced to death as is the sentence for those who are reshaim, i.e. those who
have more sins than merits.
Menaseh: So it doesn’t really lead to poverty, it
leads to death.
Oded: That’s correct. However, Hashem, in His
infinite mercy, will often commute the deserved death sentence and replace it
with a decree of poverty. This way justice is served but in a more merciful manner
since a poor person is considered like a dead person.
Menaseh: So it really is not worth being fussy about
your personal matters as you have much to lose.
Oded: Exactly! If you think about how much you actually
gain from standing your ground it’s really not a lot. Today, somebody might
have shortchanged you by a few dollars, a different time you feel someone
caused you damage to the tune of a couple hundred dollars. At the end, if you
calculate how much you really saved yourself by “standing up for your rights”
it’s really not a very large sum. But look at what you can lose!
Menaseh: Are you suggesting though to just let
people walk all over me?
Oded: Absolutely not! You should try to get what is
rightfully yours; I’m just suggesting that if it starts leading to contention,
think twice about whether it’s worth making a big deal over it. It might be
worth your while to swallow the lose and move on as we explained. In the long
run you’ll come out ahead.
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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 3 Par.
7 – Chap. 4 Par. 12
Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 1 Chasimas HaSefer Chap. 6