Lesson 32b Similarities and differences between man and Hashem and man and his friend
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.
Similarities and differences
regarding sins which are
between man and Hashem
and man and his friend
discussed when one may speak loshon horah about someone who has sinned solely against
Hashem and when one may speak loshon horah about someone who has harmed another
Jew. Can you briefly summarize the similarities between these two situations?
They are similar in that in both situations you may only speak if the necessary
conditions are met (see appendix below).
what are the differences?
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 teshuva.
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 misdeed.
Sins between man and Hashem: The basis to speak about
one who 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 appendix below.
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 fully 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. However, it is still preferable to rebuke him so that he will perhaps repent
and you will thereby avoid the necessity of publicizing his sinful ways.
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 various seforim of the Chofetz Chaim (see sources
Oded: We mentioned 7 possible causes that can lead a
person to freely speak loshon horah. They were:
Menaseh: We were discussing cause #5, abandonment.
Yesterday, you were asking me if G-d forbid, I was ill with a terrible illness
and a famous and successful doctor came to town, would I run to see him, even
if others with the same illness were not doing so.
Oded: And do you recall your response?
Menaseh: I said of course I would! Why would I pay
attention to what others are doing if my life might depend on it?
Oded: I would like to suggest that regarding loshon
horah as well, why pay attention to what others are doing, since your life
surely depends on it?
Menaseh: Are you saying that refraining from loshon
horah can save my life?
Oded: It’s not I who is saying that but rather, the
greatest doctor of them all!
Menaseh: And who might that be?
Oded: Dovid HaMelech.
Menaseh: Where does he say that?
Oded: In Tehilim. “Who is the man who seeks life…
guard your tongue from evil”.
Menaseh: How does this relate back to abandonment?
Oded: You said regarding seeking a cure for an
illness that you were ready to ignore what other people were doing.
Oded: I would suggest that even if other people have
abandoned guarding their tongue from evil speech, you should not.
Menaseh: Can you elaborate?
Oded: Sure! Guarding your tongue from evil speech
will guarantee you eternal life in the world to come. However, if you don’t
guard your tongue there will be no cure for your afflictions in the world to
come for eternity and in the end you will suffer in this world as well. So why
pay attention to the behavior of others when your eternal life is dependent on
If you have any questions
regarding these lessons, feel free to contact
Rabbi Faivel Adelman
by 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 on to
1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 10 Par.
2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 10 Par. 10 Be’er Mayim
Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Sha’ar Hatevunah Chap. 15
The seven conditions for speaking loshon horah about one
who sinned against his friend
either saw it yourself, or heard about it and subsequently verified its veracity.
must not rush to judgment, but rather weigh carefully whether what he did is indeed
halachically considered a sin.
you go public, you must first attempt to gently rebuke him.
must be careful not to exaggerate the transgression.
intentions must be for the right reasons and not out of hatred for the individual,
or for personal gain.
you can bring about the same benefit some other way, without publicizing this fellow’s
transgression, then you may not go public.
his transgression must not cause him more damage than would be due to him in Beis
#5 – Right Intentions
help the one who was harmed.
publicize and degrade the bad deed for one of the following reasons:
So that others will avoid such deeds.
So that the one who harmed his friend will perhaps see
that people are degrading his actions and, as a result, repent.
five conditions for degrading one who disregards Hashem’s mitzvos
must have first-hand knowledge, unless it is common knowledge in the city that this
fellow is a rosha.
must not rush to judgment, but rather weigh carefully whether what he did is halachically
considered a sin.
must not exaggerate his transgressions.
intentions should be for the right reasons:
That people will distance themselves from such behavior.
That the sinner will perhaps change his ways.
Not out of personal hatred or for any personal benefit.
must degrade him publicly, not privately; unless you are concerned for your safety
or you suspect that doing so publicly might lead to strife.