Lesson 30c Publicizing that someone is slandering a fellow Jew
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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.
someone is slandering a fellow Jew
- Sarah, an acquaintance of mine, has been speaking loshon
horah about my friend Dina. May I inform others that Sarah is speaking
loshon horah about her?
- Loshon horah can certainly be considered a form of
damage. As such, providing that all the conditions are met (see appendix below),
you may tell others for one of the following 2 reasons:
1. To help the one who was harmed.
2. To publicize and degrade the bad deed for one of the following reasons:
So that others will avoid such deeds.
Perhaps, the one who harmed his/her friend will see
that people are degrading his/her actions and as a result, repent.
If you are publicizing that Sarah
is speaking loshon horah for reason #2, you may only do so if Dina already
knows that Sarah is speaking loshon horah about her. However, if publicizing it
will help Dina, you may do so even if Dina is not yet aware that Sarah is
- How would it help Dina if I publicize that Sarah is maligning
- If you discern by the nature of the slander and/or slanderer,
that she will go to others as well and share her gossip, then publicizing it
can help. Unfortunately, people tend to believe loshon horah. Once they have
accepted it as truth, it’s very difficult to convince them otherwise. By
you preempting Sarah and spreading the word that Sarah is slandering Dina
for no good reason, it‘s very likely that when Sarah comes around with her
slander, they will dismiss it and perhaps even rebuke her for engaging in
such vile speech.
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: Once, Rebbi Yochanan Ben Zakai was leaving
Yerushalayim. Rebbi Yehoshua, who was following him, saw the Beis Hamikdash
in its state of destruction and exclaimed: “Woe is to us; the place that atoned
for our sins is in a state of destruction!” Rebbi Yochanan Ben Zakai replied:
“My son, don’t despair, we have an atonement that is just like it. What is it?
It is the mitzvah of chesed. As the posuk states: “For it is chesed that I
desire and not sacrifices.” Chesed is an even greater mitzvah than tzedoka.
Menaseh: How do you know that?
Oded: The Posuk in Hoshaiya states: “Plant for
yourselves with tzedoka and harvest with chesed”. When a person plants, there
is a doubt as to whether he will eat from it or not. However, once he harvest,
he will certainly be able to eat from it. Chesed is compared to harvest.
Menaseh: But in what way is chesed greater than
Oded: In 3 ways. 1) Tzedoka is performed with your
money; chesed can be performed with your money or your body. 2) Tzedoka is
only to the poor; chesed can be done with the poor and the rich. 3) Tzedoka is
only to the living; Chesed can be performed with the living and the dead.
Additionally, chesed is one of the things listed in the Mishna for which a
person receives reward in this world and the next.
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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 10
2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 10 Par. 6
Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 1 Chasimas HaSefer Chap. 6
1. You either saw it yourself or heard about it and subsequently verified
2. You must not rush to judgment, but rather weigh carefully whether what
he did is indeed halachicly considered a sin.
3. Before you go public, you must first attempt to gently rebuke him.
4. You must be careful not to exaggerate the transgression.
5. You intentions must be for the right reasons and not out of hatred for
the individual or for personal gain.
6. If you can bring about the same benefit some other way, with out
publicizing this fellow’s transgression, then you may not go public.
7. Publicizing his transgression mustn’t cause him more damage than would
be due to him in Beis Din.