Lesson 39c Speaking about someone’s lack of intelligence

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Lesson #39c

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.


Speaking about
someone’s Lack of intelligence


  1. May I state that someone is “not that bright”?  After all,
    I’m not saying that he did anything wrong; just that he lacks
  1. 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.
    1. It can have an adverse effect on his/her shiduch
    2. It can harm his/her livelihood.
    3. 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.


  1. How is this form of loshon horah worse than stating that
    someone committed a sin?
  1. 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 intellectually challenged; therefore, the intent is clearly to
    harm the fellow.
  •  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:  Continuing along with our analogy, comparing our
good deeds to a vineyard which we’ve planted, one must also uproot the thorns
and thistles that have already grown in the vineyard.

Menaseh:  How does one do that?

Oded:  The thorns and thistles allude to sins which
we commit with our mouth; be it degrading someone and causing them pain, or
harming them with our verbal arrows.  The way to uproot those sins is by
appeasing those whom we’ve harmed and also verbally admit to Hashem that we’ve transgressed
His will.

Menaseh:  What if I said something derogatory about a
person but it wasn’t in his presence and it caused him no harm?

Oded:  If it didn’t cause him any harm you do not
need to appease him.  However, you still have sinned against Hashem by speaking
derogatorily about a fellow Jew and therefore you must seek Hashem’s

Menaseh:  So if I do teshuva for my verbal sins that
will remove the thorns from my vineyard?

Oded:  Correct; your mitzvos will no longer be dimmed
by the verbal sins that would otherwise smother them.

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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 Section 2 Chap. 1

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