Lesson 49c Joining a group of people who are already speaking loshon horah – When must you get up and leave
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Joining a group of
people who are already engaged in loshon horah
- May I join a group of friends who are speaking loshon
horah if I commit myself not to believe what I hear?
- Absolutely not! The 3 steps mentioned yesterday (see
appendix below) only apply if you are caught in a group that is speaking
loshon horah and you are unable to extract yourself. However, to go and
intentionally join a group that is already speaking loshon horah, or is
certain to start speaking loshon horah, is absolutely forbidden; even if
you adhere to the 3 steps mentioned below. It is an even greater sin if
you join and desire to hear their words of loshon horah; even if you are
certain that you will not believe them. Rebbi Eliezer wrote in his will
to his son Hurkonus “My son, do not sit together with a group of people
who are engaged in loshon horah. When their words reach the heavens, they
will be inscribed in a book. All those present (even those who are not
actively participating) will be inscribed as a party of evildoers and
slanderers. Therefore, one must greatly distance himself from evil groups
such as these.”
When must you get
up and leave
- If I’m sitting with a group of friends who initially were
not speaking loshon horah but then began, must I get up and leave the
group, even if it’s difficult, or, may I rely on the 3 steps mentioned
- You must get up and leave (barring situations were there
is a benefit in your listening, as mentioned in previous lessons). You
may only rely on the 3 step procedure if it’s impossible for you to leave.
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: I have an Idea! Let’s go through the Torah
and find all the places where there is a reference to the sin of loshon horah.
Menaseh: I’m game!
Oded: Where do you think the first reference to
loshon horah can be found?
Menaseh: That’s an easy one! The snake spoke loshon
horah about Hashem to Chava.
Oded: That’s correct. As a result, he brought death
to all the inhabitants of the world.
Menaseh: What’s the next reference?
Oded: The next one is not explicit; it is based on a
Medrash. When Yaakov was running away from his brother Eisav and heading to
the house of Lavan for refuge, he prayed to Hashem and said: “If Hashem will be
with me and will guard me…” The Medrash tells us that what Yaakov meant by
“Guard me” was; guard me from the sin of loshon horah.
Menaseh: Okay; I wouldn’t have known that on my
own. The next one I would imagine is Yosef HaTzadik. The posuk tells us that
he brought bad reports to his father about his brothers.
Oded: Correct; and that was the first cause for Bnei
Yisroel descending to the land of Egypt. Okay; we finished Sefer Beraishis,
tomorrow, we will go through Sefer Shemos.
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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 6 Par.
2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 6 Par. 6
Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 2 Chap. 3
The 3 steps
necessary to avoid the biblical prohibition of loshon horah
1. Firmly commit yourself not to believe the words of loshon horah that
are being spoken.
2. You mustn’t feel any desire to listen to the loshon horah.
3. 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 ideal.