Lesson 46c Listening to loshon horah
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Binyomin Daniel ben Miriam
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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.
- Yesterday, we learned that one may not believe loshon
horah. Is it permissible to listen to loshon horah without believing it?
- Listening to loshon horah is biblically prohibited as
well. However, it is different than the prohibition of not believing
loshon horah (which is almost always prohibited) in that there are
circumstances where it’s permissible to listen to loshon horah without
- I am considering taking on a partner. The other day I
overheard someone speaking about him. Would I have been allowed to listen
- It would be permissible for you to listen but not to
believe. You may, however, suspect that what you’ve heard might be true
and based on that proceed with caution.
- By listening to the loshon horah aren’t I causing the
teller to sin?
- You’re raising a valid point. In your situation, since
the teller was already engaged in telling loshon horah to the other
listeners and you only wanted to listen in, you would not be causing him
to sin, since he already was. However, if you are the one initiating the
conversation, you must first ascertain that he will not speak out of
hatred but rather for the purpose of guiding you to make the right
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: Yesterday, we mentioned that the mitzvos of
Hashem can only infuse us with holiness after we have taken care not to stray
after our heart and eyes.
Menaseh: You were going to relate a parable to
better illustrate that point.
Oded: Here is the parable. Imagine, a person has a
house filled with dirt and filth. He decides that in order to beautify his
house he will bring in the finest gold and silver ornaments. Do you think that
such a course of action would have the desired effect?
Menaseh: Absolutely not! He must first clean his
home from the filth and squalor and only then can fine ornaments beautify his
Oded: Well, the same is true regarding the Jewish
soul. Through performing the mitzvos we are able implant the holiness of
Hashem in our soul. As the posuk states: “I am Hashem who dwells in the midst
of Bnei Yisroel”. However, we can only accomplish this if we do not allow
false beliefs and impure thoughts to inhabit our soul.
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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 6 Par.
2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 6 Be’er Mayim
Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 2 Chap. 2