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differences regarding sins that are
between man and
Hashem and man and his friend
- We’ve discussed when one may speak loshon horah about
someone who has sinned solely to Hashem and about someone who has harmed
another Jew. Can you briefly summarize the similarities between these 2
- Sure! They are similar in that in both situations you may
only speak if the necessary conditions are met (see appendix below).
- And what are the differences?
- The differences are as follows:
Sins between Man and Hashem: You may only tell
others if you know that he is consistently and intentionally violating one or
more of Hashem’s commonly known mitzvos.
Sins between Man and his friend: You may publicize
his sin even if you only saw him sin once, if you know that he hasn’t done
Sins between Man and Hashem: If you’ve seen a Jew
consistently and purposefully violating one of Hashem’s mitzvos, you may assume
he has not done teshuva until proven otherwise.
Sins between Man and his friend: If you’ve seen a
Jew harm another Jew, you must be certain that he hasn’t repented, i.e.
returned the stolen item or paid for the damage etc., before you publicize his
Sins between Man and Hashem: The basis to speak
about one whom consistently and purposefully violates one or more of Hashem’s
mitzvos is that he is no longer considered part of the Jewish nation as a
result of his blatant disregard for Hashem’s mitzvos. Therefore, one can
publicly degrade him within the guidelines of the conditions listed in the
Sins between Man and his friend: If you’ve seen a
Jew harm another, he is still considered part of the Jewish nation. As such,
you may publicize his actions for the purposes listed in the appendix below
(see Right Intentions). However, regarding all other matters, i.e. insulting
him or causing him monetary damage, he is considered a full fledged Jew.
Sins between Man and Hashem: Since he is no longer
considered a part of the Jewish nation, it is possible that you are not
obligated to rebuke him. It is still preferable to rebuke him so that perhaps
he will repent and you will thereby avoid the necessity of publicizing his sinful
Sins between Man and his friend: You are obligated
to rebuke him, whenever possible, before you publicize his violation.
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: Have you any more to say on the topic of
Oded: I think we’re ready to move on to the next
Menaseh: So just to summarize, arrogance can bring
someone to speak loshon horah for 2 reasons. One, since it causes him to look
down upon his peers, he feels free to degrade them. Two, it will cause him to
feel jealousy and hatred towards those whom he feels receive more honor than he
does. As a result, he will slander them in order to elevate himself above
Oded: Precisely! Additionally, arrogance and
haughtiness is in itself a terrible character trait that Hashem considers an
abomination for the reasons we previously mentioned.
Menaseh: The next major cause for engaging in loshon
horah is hopelessness. Can you explain that?
Oded: Sure! A person will convince himself that it
is impossible to refrain from loshon horah unless one separates himself from
Menaseh: Is that true?
Oded: Absolutely not! We will discuss this in more
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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 10
2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 10 Par. 10 Be’er
Mayim Chaim 30
Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Sha’ar Hatevunah Chap. 14
The 7 Conditions
for speaking loshon horah
about one who
sinned against his friend
- You either saw it yourself or heard about it and
subsequently verified its veracity.
- You must not rush to judgment, but rather weigh carefully
whether what he did is indeed halachicly considered a sin.
- Before you go public, you must first attempt to gently
- You must be careful not to exaggerate the transgression.
- You intentions must be for the right reasons and not out
of hatred for the individual or for personal gain.
- If you can bring about the same benefit some other way
with out publicizing this fellow’s transgression, then you may not go
- Publicizing his transgression mustn’t cause him more
damage than would be due to him in Beis Din.
#5 – Right Intentions
1. To help the one who was harmed.
2. To publicize and degrade the bad deed for one of the following reasons:
Others will avoid such deeds.
Perhaps the one who harmed his friend will see that
people are degrading his actions and as a result, repent.
5 conditions for degrading one who disregards mitzvos of Hashem
- You must have first hand knowledge, unless, it’s common
knowledge in the city that this fellow is a rosha.
- You must not rush to judgment, but rather, weigh
carefully whether what he did is halachicly considered a sin.
- You mustn’t exaggerate his transgressions.
- Your intentions should be for the right reasons:
a. That people will distance themselves from such behavior.
b. Perhaps the sinner will change his ways.
c. Not out of personal hatred or for any personal benefit.
- You must degrade him publicly, not privately; unless, you
are concerned for your safety or you suspect that doing so publicly might
lead to strife.