Lesson 45c Believing loshon horah

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Lesson #45c

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Believing loshon


  1. Is it prohibited to believe loshon horah?
  1. It is biblically prohibited to believe loshon horah.  The
    Gemora in Meseches Pesachim says that one who believes loshon horah is fit
    to be thrown to the dogs.  The Rambam writes that the punishment for
    believing loshon horah is greater than the punishment for telling loshon


  1. Does that mean that I’m supposed to assume the one who
    told the loshon horah lied?
  1. It depends.  The essence of the prohibition is that the
    subject of the loshon horah should not be diminished in your eyes. 


Therefore, if according to the
words of the teller there is room to judge the person whom he spoke about
favorably, then you may believe the teller; providing that you judge the
subject favorably.  (An example of this would be if
the teller says: “I saw Dovid walk into Shimon’s backyard and saunter off with his
lawnmower.”  If you are able to judge Dovid favorably and say that perhaps he
got permission from Shimon to borrow his lawnmower, then you may believe the


However, if according to the words
of the teller there is no way of judging the one whom he spoke about favorably,
then you must assume that the teller lied or exaggerated or perhaps left out an
important detail that would change the nature of the story.  (For example, if the teller says: “I saw Dovid breaking
into Shimon’s garage with a black ski mask pulled over his face and when Shimon
opened his window to see what was going on, Dovid quickly darted out of view.  In
this case, if you’d believe the teller you would be hard pressed to judge Dovid
favorably.  Therefore, you must assume that the teller either lied or distorted
the story.)


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 were discussing the concept of ourselves
holy.  I wanted to share with you a thought regarding this, based on what we
say in Krias Shema daily.

Menaseh:  Please go ahead.

Oded:  In the last parsha of Shema, towards the end,
we say the following: And you should remember all the mitzvos of Hashem and
you should perform them and you should not explore after your heart and your
eyes that you stray after them.  So that you should remember and you should perform
all my mitzvos and you should be holy to your G-d.”

Menaseh:  Those pesukim sound a bit redundant.  Why
does the posuk repeat remembering and performing the mitzvos?

Oded:  That is exactly the point I wanted to focus
on.  I believe that the Torah is hinting at a very important message.  When
will remembering and performing the mitzvos make us holy?  Only after we are
careful not to stray after our heart and eyes.  That is why the Torah repeats
remembering and performing the mitzvos after it mentions not exploring after
our heart and eyes.

Menaseh:  What does the posuk mean when it says: “and
you should not explore after your heart and your eyes”

Oded:  The Gemora in Meseches Brochos explains that
“your heart” refers to heresy and “your eyes” refers to immoral relations.  The
Sefer HaChinuch explains that included in heresy are all thoughts that are
counter to daas Torah and included in immoral relations are all physical

Menaseh:  So you’re saying that we first have to
guard ourselves from improper thoughts and from indulging in our physical
desires and then the mitzvos that we perform will make us holy to Hashem.

Oded:  Precisely!  Tomorrow, I will elaborate on this
a bit more.

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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 6 Par.

2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 6 Be’er Mayim
Chaim 1


Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 2 Chap. 2

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