Lesson 40c Degrading a Torah scholar – Speaking to calm someone down

Sponsored as a zechus for

Kraindel Dina bas Miriam

May she speedily find her zivug

Lesson #40c

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.



Degrading a Torah

  1. Am I allowed to tell people that the Rav of our Shul is
    not such a great Torah scholar; he only knows the basic laws he needs to know?
  1. 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
    will likely:
    1. Decrease his honor in the eyes of his constituents.
    2. Cut into his source of livelihood.
    3. Diminish the honor of Torah.
    4. 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.


Speaking loshon
horah to calm someone down

  1. My friend, Miriam, is incensed by 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?
  1. 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 discussing a posuk in Mishlei which stated
the following: “There are those who become rich but have nothing.”  We
explained that the posuk is referring to one who has learned Torah and done
good deeds but is left with nothing because he has an evil nature of speaking
derogatorily about others.  His derogatory words contaminate all his learning
and good deeds; to the extent that they cause them to lose their value.  The end
of that posuk states just the opposite: “One who becomes poor but has great

Menaseh:  What is that referring to?

Oded:  Our sages teach us that one who does teshuvah
out of love for Hashem, all his sins turn into merits.  Therefore, the poorer
he is, i.e. the more sins he has committed, the wealthier he will be when all
his sins turn into merits as result of doing teshuvah with love.

Menaseh:  But what is the logic behind that?  Why
should all his sins turn into merits?

Oded:  Perhaps we can offer a simple explanation.  A
person who does teshuvah out of love for Hashem, will no doubt feel deep
remorse for each and every individual sin that he has committed.  He will cry
and bemoan the fact that he had the audacity to violate the will of Hashem who
gives life to all existence and sustains them with tremendous kindness.  As a result,
all his sins will be uprooted.  In addition, he has fulfilled the positive
commandment of doing Teshuvah.  Thus, the more sins he has committed, the more
mitzvos of teshuvah will take their place.  Thus we have “one who becomes poor
but ends up with great wealth”.

If you have any
questions regarding these lessons, feel free to contact Rabbi Faivel Adelman clicking here.


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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 Section 2 Chap. 1

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