Lesson 59c Believing loshon horah when it’s spoken causually – Believing loshon horah when there is circumstantcial evidence present

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Aharon ben Liba

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Lesson #59c

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Believing casually
spoken loshon horah

  1. If someone tells me loshon horah casually, without
    intention to harm, and without any ulterior motives but rather just as a story,
    may I believe him?
  1. Although we do find instances where the Torah gives
    credibility under such circumstances, regarding the prohibition of
    believing loshon horah it seems that you are not allowed to believe him. 
    You may however suspect.


Believing loshon
horah when there is circumstantial evidence present

  1. A friend told me loshon horah.  I have circumstantial
    evidence that what he said is true.  May I believe him?
  1. It depends.  I will first list the situations where even
    having evidence does not skirt the prohibition of listening to, or
    believing loshon horah.
    1. If you can judge him favorably:  Even if you have
      evidence that what the teller said is true; if you can judge the person
      whom it was told about, favorably, and you don’t, you are in violation of
      believing loshon horah.
    2. If it is not relevant to you:  If the information
      is not relevant to you, you may not listen to it. (This includes
      information about someone’s lack of intelligence, strength, or material
      wealth; his previous deeds if has since changed his ways, or the sins of
      his ancestors)
    3. Partial or second hand evidence:  If you only have
      partial evidence, or if you heard the evidence from another party and don’t
      have first hand knowledge of it, you may not believe the loshon horah.

If you have clear first hand
evidence and the information is relevant to you, i.e. so that you may protect
yourself, or distance yourself from that person, and there is no way or
obligation to judge him favorably, you may listen to and believe the loshon


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 would like to share with you an observation about
how damaging the sin of loshon horah is up above.

Menaseh:  Sure, go ahead.

Oded:  If a person commits a sin that is punishable
by karais when done on purpose, what is his atonement when done by accident?

Menaseh:  In the time of the Bais HaMikdash he would
bring a Korbon Chatas.

Oded:  Where was the blood of that Korbon thrown?

Menaseh:  On the mizbayach that was in the courtyard.

Oded:  What if the one who committed the sin was the
Kohen Gadol?

Menaseh:  Then I believe the blood had to be thrown
on the mizbayach that was inside the sanctuary and on the partition that
divided the sanctuary from the holy of holies.

Oded:  Why do you think there is this difference
between the Kohen Gadol and a regular Jew?

Menaseh:   I don’t really know?

Oded:  The reason is as follows.  When a person
commits a sin, the damage caused by that sin reaches the upper worlds in
accordance to the greatness of the individual’s soul.  It is known that
whatever we find here on earth has a corresponding replica up above. 
Therefore, just as down here we have the holy city of Yerushalayim, so too
above there is a Yerushalayim.  Just as we have a Mountain of Hashem here on earth, so too above there is a Mountain of Hashem.  Just as there is a courtyard
to the sanctuary in the earthly Bais HaMikdash, so too up above there is a
courtyard to the sanctuary.  When a regular Jew sins the effect of his sin
reaches the courtyard of the heavenly sanctuary.  Therefore, his atonement is
to throw the blood of his Korbon on the mizbayach that is located in the
courtyard.  However, when a Kohen Gadol, who is on a very high level of
holiness, sins, his sins cause defilement in a much higher place.  His sin
defiles the actual sanctuary above.  Therefore, to atone for his sin he must
throw the blood of his Korbon onto the mizbayach that is located inside the
sanctuary as well as on the partition that divides the sanctuary from the holy
of holies.  The next time we speak I will show you how this relates to the sin
of loshon horah

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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 7 Par. 9

2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 7 Par. 10, 11 Be’er
Mayim Chaim 25


Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 2 Chap. 4

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