Lesson 57c Believing rumors

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Aharon ben Liba

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Lesson #57c

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.


Believing rumors


  1. There is a rumor circulating around town that a neighbor
    of mine embezzled money.  I heard this rumor from a few different
    sources.  Am I allowed to believe it?
  1. You may not believe the rumor.  However, you may harbor a
    suspicion until the matter is further clarified.  It is forbidden to tell
    others with the intention of spreading the rumor.


  1. There is a person in our community who is constantly the
    subject of rumors regarding immoral behavior.  If I hear rumors about such
    a person, am I allowed to believe them?
  1. If it is public knowledge that this person blatantly
    violated well known prohibitions a number of times, then you may believe loshon
    horah about him.


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 before that when Moshe
rebuked Doson and Aviram regarding their quarrel, one of them responded: “Are
you saying to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?”  When Moshe heard that he
exclaimed: “In truth the matter has become known”.  Rashi explained that until
then Moshe was wondering why Bnei Yisroel was being smitten more than any other
nation.  However, after this incident Moshe exclaimed: now I see that they
deserve it because of the loshon horah that exists amongst them.  I’m wondering;
how does this resolved Moshe’s dilemma?  Bnei Yisroel at that time had other
great sins such as idol worshipping, as stated in Yechezkel, yet, Moshe still
didn’t understand why they were being afflicted more than any other nation. 
Why does the fact that they also had the sin of loshon horah make it more understandable?

Oded:  You’re asking a good question.  I think we can
explain it based on a Zohar which we once quoted.

Menaseh:  Which Zohar was that?

Oded:  The Zohar which explains that the sin of
loshon horah awakens the great prosecutor above who will then prosecute against
Klal Yisroel and bring death to the world.

Menaseh:  How does that work?

Oded:  The Zohar explains that even when we sin, the
prosecutor does not have the power to open his mouth and prosecute against us. 
However, when a person speaks loshon horah he awakens a certain spirit.  This
spirit then goes up above and brings about the prosecution of Klal Yisroel on
any other sins that they may have committed as well.  So you see that it is
only through the sin of loshon horah that bad things can happen.

Menaseh:  So how does that explain Moshe’s resolution
to his quandary?

Oded:  When Moshe Exclaimed: “In truth the matter has
become known” what he meant was the matter of their other great sins, such as
idol worshipping, has become known above.  Now that I see that there is loshon horah
amongst them I understand that they can be prosecuted for their other sins as

Menaseh:  I understand!  So that is why only after he
saw that they had the sin of loshon he understood why they were suffering.

Oded:  Precisely!

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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 7 Par. 4

2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 7 Par. 5


Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 2 Chap. 3

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