Lesson 61c Sharing loshon horah with circumstantial evidence for a valid purpose – Beis Din relying on circumstantial evidence

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Lesson #61c

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Sharing loshon
horah for which you have evidence, for a valid purpose

  1. Someone at work dug into the pocketbook of a co-worker and
    stole money.  Another co-worker told me who she thinks did it.  I have clear
    first hand evidence to back up her assertion.  May I share this
    information with our supervisor so that he may rectify the matter?
  1. Yes you may.  Even though generally you would not be
    allowed to tell others, even if you have evidence; under these
    circumstances you may, since you are sharing this information to help the
    one who was harmed. You may even tell your supervisor that based on your
    evidence you believe that the accusation is accurate. (As with all loshon
    horah which is spoken for a valid purpose, you must adhere to the 7
    conditions listed in the appendix below.)


May Bais Din rely
on circumstantial evidence?

  1. Is a Bais Din (Jewish court of law) allowed to rely on
    circumstantial evidence to reach a decision?
  1. Generally not.  However, if they feel it is the need of
    the hour, and they have first hand knowledge of the evidence, or they were
    presented with the evidence by 2 kosher witnesses, they may rely on it to induce
    an admission of guilt from the suspect.  This is only permissible for a
    Bais Din and not for a private individual.


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:  There is another amazing insight regarding
this as well!

Menaseh:  Regarding what?

Oded:  We mentioned yesterday that the damage from
the sin of loshon horah of even a regular Jew, reaches all the way up to the
heavenly holy of holies.  There is yet another angle from which we can see the
severity of the damage caused by loshon horah.

Menaseh:  What is that?

Oded:  The Kohen Gadol is allowed into the holy of
holies only one day a year.  Do you know which day?

Menaseh:  Sure!  That would be Yom Kippur.

Oded:  Do you know which service of atonement was the
first performed by the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur was?

Menaseh:  I believe it was the burning of the
incense, the Ketores.

Oded:  That’s correct!  Even before the receiving the
blood of the cow offering, he would do the Ketores.  Do you what the Ketores
came to atone for?

Menaseh:  I can’t say I do.

Oded:  The Gemora in Meseches Yoma tells us that the
Ketores was atonement for sins of the mouth.  See the great damage caused by
the sin of loshon horah!  The Kohen Gadol who is the holiest person in Klal
Yisroel must go into the holiest place in the world to atone for the sin of
loshon horah.  But there is something here even more telling!

Menaseh:  What is that?

Oded:  As we mentioned, the Ketores was the first
service of atonement performed.  This was obligatory.  If the Kohen Gadol was
to switch around the order he would be punished with death.  The reason for
this is that before we can receive atonement for our other sins, the sin of
loshon horah must first be atoned.  This is how damaging the sin loshon horah
is.  It holds back atonement from all other sins.

Menaseh:  How can we apply this now a day, when we
don’t have the Ketores?

Oded:  We should act similarly.  When we come to do
teshuva for our sins, we should make sure to first do teshuva for sins of our

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7 Conditions

1.      You either saw it yourself or heard about it and subsequently verified
its veracity.

2.      You must not rush to judgment, but rather weigh carefully whether what
he/she did is indeed halachicly considered a sin.

3.      Before you go public, you must first attempt to gently rebuke him/her.

4.      You must be careful not to exaggerate the transgression.

5.      You intentions must be for the right reasons and not out of hatred for
the individual or for personal gain.

6.      If you can bring about the same benefit some other way with out
publicizing this fellow’s transgression, then you may not go public.

7.      Publicizing his/her transgression mustn’t cause him/her more damage
than would be due to him/her in Beis Din.





1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 7 Par. 12 Be’er Mayim
Chaim 28

2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 7 Par. 13


Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 2 Chap. 4

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