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someone’s Lack of intelligence
- May I state that someone is dim-witted? After all, I’m
not saying that he did anything wrong; just that he lacks intelligence.
- It is 100% forbidden. Any form of communication that is
derogatory or harms a fellow Jew is considered loshon horah. Stating that
someone is dense is derogatory and can harm him/her in numerous ways.
- It can have an adverse effect on his/her shiduch
- It can harm his/her livelihood.
- It can cause the person great anguish and embarrassment.
This form of loshon horah can be
more severe than revealing that someone committed a sin.
- How is this form of loshon horah worse than stating that
someone committed a sin?
- It’s worse from the perspective of both the teller and the
- Teller: When revealing that someone sinned, there
is room for rationalization, i.e. I’m revealing this so people should
distance themselves from such behavior. Even though this justification
does not always apply, the teller is still not necessarily speaking with
malicious intent. However, there is no justification to announce that
someone is a dim-wit; therefore, the intent is clearly to harm the
- Listener: When hearing that someone sinned,
people will often be hesitant to accept it as fact until they’ve verified
its veracity. However, regarding matters of intelligence, there seems to
be a tendency to accept, without question, the assessment of the
slanderer. Therefore, greater harm is caused with this form of loshon
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: We were last discussing cause #5,
abandonment. Have you more to say on that topic?
Oded: I think we’ve pretty much covered it.
Menaseh: So to summarize, there really is no logic
in abandoning the mitzvah of guarding our tongues just because others have.
The same way we wouldn’t consider not running to a doctor who might heal us
from a serious ailment just because others aren’t, we certainly shouldn’t
entertain not listening to the great doctor, Dovid Hamelech, who gave us a
prescription for long life. “Guard your tongue from evil and your lips from deceit”
Menaseh: So we are now ready to discuss cause #6,
complaining nature. Can you begin by defining this cause?
Oded: Sure! There are people who by nature are
complainers. They constantly find fault with their friends, even when their
friends have no intent to harm. They judge their friend unfavorably and always
assume that they are acting out of hate.
Menaseh: How is this connected to loshon horah?
Oded: A person who is afflicted with this bad midda,
will often transgress the sin of loshon horah, since he is constantly finding
fault with others.
Menaseh: If one is afflicted with this bad midda, how
can he fix it?
Oded: By reflecting on the tremendous bad that results.
Menaseh: Can you elaborate on that?
Oded: Tomorrow, we will discuss the great harm that
is caused by this trait.
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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 5 Par.
2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 5 Par. 3
Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Sha’ar Hatevunah Chap. 15 & 16