Lesson 48

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Lesson #48

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.



Listening to one
who is venting

  1. A friend wants to vent to me about what someone did to
    her.  May I listen to her?
  1. Under certain circumstances it is even a mitzvah to hear
    her out.  If by listening to her you can calm her nerves so that she won’t
    go talk to others about it, who might believe her, then it is a mitzvah to
    listen.  By listening, you’re preventing others from believing words of
    loshon horah.  However, it is important to remember that you too may not
    believe her words as fact but merely suspect that they might true.


What to do when
someone starts speaking loshon horah

  1. What am I supposed to do when at work, during a meeting,
    someone starts speaking loshon horah?
  1. There are a number of steps that one can take.  I will
    list them in order of priority.
    1. You should rebuke the one who is speaking loshon horah. 
      If you know that rebuking him/her will only make them speak more loshon
      horah, then you should not rebuke them.  However, if you feel that
      rebuking them won’t help but it also won’t harm, then you should rebuke
      him/her to show that you don’t approve of what’s being said and that you will
      not be a party to it.
    2. You must either leave the meeting or insert your fingers
      into your ears so as not to hear the words of loshon horah.
    3. If it is impossible for you to leave the meeting and you
      know that you are too embarrassed to stick your fingers in your ears,
      then you must take the following 3 steps to ensure that you are not in
      violation of the biblical prohibition of listening to loshon horah.

a.      Firmly commit yourself not to believe the words of loshon horah that
are being spoken.

b.      You mustn’t feel any desire to listen to the loshon horah.

c.       Don’t show in anyway that you approve of what is being said.  If you
are able to show disdain for the deleterious words that are being spoken, that
would be even better.


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.

Menaseh:  You mentioned yesterday that if one speaks
about a sin that someone else committed, he better make sure that he himself is
clean of that sin.

Oded:  Correct.  Otherwise, the words he spoke will
be considered loshon horah.

Menaseh:  You also mentioned that if you spoke about
your friend, from here on in you must be careful not to commit the sin that you
accused your friend of committing; otherwise, what you spoke about your friend
will retroactively be considered loshon horah.

Oded:  Correct.

Menaseh:  You were going to share with me your source
for this.

Oded:  Hashem commanded Yaihu to wipe out the house
of Achav the king.

Menaseh:  Why?

Oded:  Because Achav was an evil king who worshipped
idols.  Yaihu went on to eradicate the idol of Baal from Israel and Hashem rewarded Yaihu with 4 generations of kingdom for his actions.

Menaseh:  It sounds like Yaihu was a very righteous

Oded:  He was.  However, in the end he got punished
for wiping out the house of Achav.

Menaseh:  How can that be?  I thought you said Hashem
was happy with what he did and even rewarded him for it?

Oded:  He was; however, in the end Yaihu himself
worshipped idols, therefore, Hashem punished him for killing Achav since he
himself became guilty of the same sin.

Menaseh:  I thought you said that Yaihu was

Oded:  He was; the Gemora in Meseches Sanhedrin
states that he worshipped the idols as a result of mistake.

Menaseh:  So why was he punished?

Oded:  Even though his idol worshipping wasn’t an act
of rebellion as was Achav’s, since he was guilty in some way of the same sin
that he killed Achav for, he was retroactively held accountable for Achav’s

Menaseh:  That’s a scary thought!  So how does that
apply to loshon horah?

Oded:  As we mentioned earlier, the same is true
regarding loshon horah.  If you speak loshon horah about a sin that someone
committed, even if you spoke for a valid purpose, you better make sure to
remain clean of that same sin; otherwise, you will be held accountable for your
words of loshon horah.

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

2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 6 Par. 5


Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Sha’ar Hatevunah Chap. 17

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