Lesson 37c Removing yourself from suspicion when it may incriminate another

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Lesson #37c

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.


Removing yourself
from suspicion when it may incriminate another


  1. I am an upholsterer.  Yesterday, a co-worker noticed a set
    of chairs that were poorly upholstered.  He asked me if I knew who
    upholstered those chairs. He obviously suspects me.  What should my
    response be? 
  1. You may tell him that it wasn’t you who upholstered those
    chairs.  However, if by removing yourself from suspicion he might figure
    out who upholstered those chairs, it is an extra measure of righteousness
    not to exclude yourself from suspicion.  An even greater measure of
    righteousness would be to take the blame yourself so that the true culprit
    will not be discovered.  This was the level of righteousness of a number
    of our sages in the Mishna.


  1. What if there is only one other person, besides myself,
    who could have upholstered those chairs?  By stating that it was not me,
    I’m implicating the other fellow as the faulty upholsterer.  Is this
  1. If it is a real fault, i.e. shoddy workmanship that is
    indicative of a worker who doesn’t do his work with integrity, then you
    may remove yourself from suspicion, even if it will incriminate the other
    fellow.  However, if it’s merely a fault in the eyes of the beholder, i.e.
    your co-worker just doesn’t like the way the job was done, then the
    Chofetz Chaim is in doubt as to whether you may remove yourself from
    suspicion if it will incriminate someone else.


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:  Yesterday, you stated that even a person
who has planted grapevines of good deeds in Gan Eden for himself, if he has an
evil nature to degrade others, the grapevines will become covered with thorns
and thistles to the extent that he will not even be able to recognize the
grapevines.  He will end up with absolutely nothing.  What is the significance of
the allegory?

Oded:  It’s actually based on a posuk in Mishlei.  Shlomo
Hamelech states the following: “I passed through the field of a lazy man, through
the vineyard of a heartless person, and behold, it grew entirely thistles; its
face was covered with thorns…”

Menaseh:  Can you shed some light on that metaphor?

Oded:  Sure!  A lazy man is one who is too lazy to
learn torah or do good deeds or one who forgets what he learned as a result of
his laziness.  The vineyard of a heartless person is referring to one who has
learned Torah and done good deeds but his heart is not concerned with
maintaining what he has gained.

Menaseh:  So what is the difference between these 2

Oded:  The person who was too lazy to learn and do
mitzvos, in place of what could have been a beautiful field of Torah and
mitzvos grew a field filled with thistles and wild weeds.  The fellow who did
learn and performed good deeds, but was too careless to protect his gains, the
vineyard which he planted got covered over with thorns to the extent that all
the hard work that he invested went to waste.

Menaseh:  Can you be a bit more specific?

Oded:  Every word of Torah that a person learns has
the potential to go up to the heavens and produce holy fruit, so to speak, when
a person also uses his mouth for forbidden speech, he covers over the words of
holiness with contamination, ruining all the beautiful fruits which he produced. 
That is the meaning of what I stated before; his grapevines will be completely
covered with thorns and thistles.

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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 10
Par. 17

2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 10 Be’er Mayim
Chaim 43


Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 2 Chap. 1

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