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Degrading a Torah
- Am I allowed to tell people that the Rav of our Shul is
not such a great Torah scholar, he just knows the basic laws he needs to know?
- It is a grave sin to make such a statement, even if it’s
true. It can cause great harm in numerous ways. Making such a statement
- Decrease his honor in the eyes of his constituents.
- Cut into his source of livelihood.
- Diminish the honor of Torah.
- Lessen mitzvah observance by rendering his words of
rebuke and admonition, ineffective. People will no longer heed his words,
since you have given him a reputation of not being scholarly.
horah to calm someone down
- My friend, Miriam, is furious with someone who recently
insulted her. May I attempt to calm her nerves by telling her that the
person who insulted her didn’t make that comment with malicious intent,
but rather, out of foolishness?
- Yes you may. Even though we previously stated that making
disparaging remarks about someone’s level of intelligence is forbidden, in
this case it would be permissible if necessary. Since your intention is
not to degrade the person, but rather, to dissipate the hard feelings that
resulted from the insulting remark, it is in fact a mitzvah to do so.
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: Yesterday, we began discussing cause #6,
complaining nature. You were going to share with me the terrible things that
come out of this bad trait.
Oded: Okay, let’s begin.
- He will frequently violate the positive commandment of “Love
your friend as thy self”.
- He will often violate the negative commandment of “Do not
hate your bother in your heart”. Our sages teach us that as a result of
the sin of unwarranted hatred, great strife will enter a person’s home,
his wife will miscarry, and his children will die young.
- He will also violate the positive commandment of “Judge
thy fellow Jew righteously” i.e. favorably.
- He will frequently suspect people, falsely. Our sages
teach us that one who suspects people falsely, his body will be smitten.
- He will also come to transgress the sins of verbally
abusing a fellow Jew, publicly embarrassing another Jew and creating
strife, a sin that results in a very severe punishment.
Menaseh: Okay, so the point is, a person who wants
to save himself from destruction should distance himself from this evil trait.
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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 5 Par.
2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 5 Par. 3 footnote
Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Sha’ar Hatevunah Chap. 16