Lesson 55c Believing loshon horah stated in public – Believing loshon horah stated in front of the subject
Sponsored as a zechus for
Aharon ben Liba
May he have a speedy refuah shelaimah
Please verbalize or
have in mind that you are studying this material as a merit for a specific
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horah stated in public
- The other day, I heard loshon horah about someone in a
public address. It seems unlikely to me that the speaker would lie in
front of so many people. Am I permitted to believe him based on that?
- Absolutely not! That is not sufficient proof to the
accuracy of his allegation. However, the listeners may suspect that there
might be something to what he’s saying and investigate the matter
further. If they confirm his allegations, they can then go ahead and
rebuked the individual for his wrongdoing.
horah stated in front of the subject
- I was standing with a group of friends when one of those
present said some very damaging things about another fellow who was
standing right there. The fellow who was spoken about, remained silent.
Now, I know this fellow very well and he’s not the type of person to
remain silent when falsely accused. Can I deduce from his silence that
the accusations are in fact true?
- No you may not. His silence is not considered adequate
proof of guilt. It very possible that this fellow decided to overcome his
nature and not respond to the accusations. Or, perhaps he decided that it
doesn’t pay to react, since anyway, it is the nature of people to believe
negative things that they hear about others.
- Could the fact that the teller had the audacity to say it
in his presence, serve as a proof to the veracity of his statement?
- No. That is also not considered sufficient evidence by
the Torah’s standards to remove a Jew from his current status of being an
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: Do you remember what we said before about a
mitzvah that is abandoned?
Menaseh: Yes. I believe you quoted from the Sefer
Chasidim that a mitzvah which is abandoned is like a Mais Mitzvah; a dead body that
has no one to look after it.
Oded: That’s correct. It is a top priority. A
mitzvah that is abandoned prosecutes before Hashem and says: “See that there
is no one who is concerned with me!” If this is true with one mitzvah how much
more so by a mitzvah that takes up a major portion of the Torah. So you can
imagine that when people abandon the mitzvah of Shmiras haloshon and speak
freely, a major portion of the Torah is lying in shame.
Menaseh: And if one takes upon himself to be careful?
Oded: How great will his reward be, for he is giving
honor to these mitzvos! About such a person the posuk in Shmuel states: “For
those who honor me I will honor”. We can view this from another angle as well.
Menaseh: And what might that be?
Oded: We’ve mentioned before that our sages have
taught us that all transgress the sin of loshon horah. Even though the Gemora
establishes that this statement is referring to the dust of loshon horah (The
dust of loshon horah refers to certain speech that might not be actual loshon
horah but is close to it) the Rambam states: if only people would actually be
careful with loshon horah itself. We see that loshon horah is a sin that is
more abandoned than any other sin.
Menaseh: How do you see that it is more abandoned
than any other sin?
Oded: Because the Gemora states that the sin of
stealing is violated by most people but not everyone. The sin of immoral
relations is violated by a minority. It is only the sin of loshon horah that
is violated by all. Therefore, one who strengthens himself in this mitzvah is
giving it honor. As a result, the mitzvah will speak in his merit above.
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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 7 Par. 1
2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 7 Par. 2
Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 2 Chap. 3