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have in mind that you are studying this material as a merit for a specific
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Loshon horah about
- Am I allowed to speak loshon horah about a minor (a boy
under the age of 13 or a girl under the age of 12)?
- Generally it’s permitted, unless you know that it will
cause damage to the child. A common example of this would be an orphan
who is being cared for by others. By speaking loshon horah about him, you
might cause his caregiver to abandon him, thereby causing him great harm.
- If the child is causing harm to others, may I reveal this
information; even if it will have a negative impact on the child?
- Essentially it is permitted, however, the following 2 matters
must be carefully considered before doing so:
- You must verify the veracity of your information and not
be quick to rely on what you’ve heard from others.
- You must carefully weigh the consequences that will
result from your words. Often, the consequences do not justify the
benefits. For example, if as a result of your words the child is kicked
out of his home or yeshiva, you might be endangering the child’s life or
It is essential to consult with
a competent halachic authority before making such a weighty decision.
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: Learning Torah is greater than saving lives.
Menaseh: From where do you know that?
Oded: The Gemora in Meseches Megilla learns it from
pesukim in Ezra and Nechemia.
Menaseh: Can you elaborate?
Oded: Sure! At the beginning, when the posuk lists
the great people who went up with Zerubavel, Mordechai was listed as number 5.
24 years later, after the Beis Hamikdash was already built, Mordechai was
listed as number 6.
Menaseh: What happened between the 2 listings that
led to Mordechai’s demotion?
Oded: He was appointed by Achashvairosh as an
Menaseh: What’s bad about that?
Oded: He wasn’t able to learn Torah as much as he
used to due to his official duties.
Menaseh: How does this show us that learning Torah
is greater than saving lives?
Oded: In his governmental position Mordechai was
able to serve the interests of the Jewish people and save lives; yet still, in
the eyes of the sages he lost some respect because of his diminished Torah
Menaseh: Does that mean that if I’m learning and I
can save someone’s life, I shouldn’t interrupt my learning?
Oded: Of course not! You are definitely obligated
to save the life. However, the mitzvah of Torah learning is still a greater
If you have any
questions regarding these lessons, feel free to contact Rabbi Faivel Adelman by
hitting the reply button.
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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 8 Par. 3 Be’er Mayim
2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 8 Par. 3 Be’er Mayim
Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Sha’ar HaTorah Chap. 2