Lesson 66c Loshon horah about a heretic 2

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Lesson #66c

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.


Speaking loshon
horah about a heretic


  1. If someone tells me that a certain fellow is a heretic,
    may I then go and speak loshon horah about that fellow?
  1. As with all loshon horah, you may not believe it but you
    may suspect until further verified.  Therefore, you may distance yourself
    from this fellow and you may even warn others to keep their distance until
    the matter is clarified.  However, you may not speak freely about him.


  1. What if I don’t have first hand knowledge that this fellow
    is a heretic but it seems to be common knowledge in the city that he is a
  1. If it is common knowledge throughout the city that this
    person is a heretic, even if you don’t have first hand knowledge, you may
    consider him a heretic and speak loshon horah about him.  However, if it’s
    only a rumor, that would not be adequate grounds to consider him a heretic;
    hence, you may not speak loshon horah about him.  You may however suspect
    and warn others, as mentioned above.  (The distinction between a rumor and
    common knowledge is an important one.  One must be careful not to
    rationalize and consider something common knowledge when it is really only
    a rumor.)

Readers’ Questions

Rabbi Adelman – Thank you again for
the wonderful work you do.  In terms of yesterday’s lesson, would it be
worthwhile to differentiate between a true apikores as opposed to a tinoke
shenishba, which most non-religious today would be considered?


You are correct; there is a differentiation.  A Jew who was
raised irreligious is not necessarily to blame for his ignorance; therefore,
there is no mitzvah to degrade him.  An Apikores is one who knows the truths of
Judaism but has rejected them; it is therefore a mitzvah to stand up for the
honor of Hashem and degrade him.  As for who is classified a tinoke shenishba
and who an Apikores; one must inquire from a competent halachic authority.

there a reason NOT to ridicule a heretic, at least to the extreme,
though?  So the mida of achzarius (cruelty) and degrading others doesn’t
become part of you?

Our sages teach us that one who is merciful towards the
cruel will end up being cruel to the merciful.  There is a time and a place
even for what are normally perceived as negative middos.  A person must have
the right balance.  When a person throws himself off balance and uses the wrong
midda in the wrong place it has an effect on his whole value system.  An
apikores is someone who has rebelled against Hashem.  The same way one would
hate someone who rises up against his father, one must hate those who rise
against Hashem.  As Dovid Hamelech declares in Tehilim: “Behold those who make
you hated Hashem I will hate and with those who rise up against you I will
quarrel A complete hatred I hated them, they were enemies to me”.  This
is not to say that one shouldn’t first try to influence the apikores, in a
positive way, to purge himself from his false beliefs.  However, after all such
attempts have been exhausted; one must have the proper response to such an
individual as spelled out above and in yesterday’s lesson.


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:  The sin of loshon horah also prevents the Bais
HaMikdash from being rebuilt.

Menaseh:  How do you know that?

Oded:  The Gemora in Meseches Yoma states that the
destruction of the Bais HaMikdash was a result of the wanton hatred that
existed and the loshon horah.

Menaseh:  That’s why it was destroyed but who says
that it also prevents it from being rebuilt?

Oded:  If it was destroyed for that reason it
certainly won’t be rebuilt if that sin still exists.

Menaseh:  Is that what our sages meant when they said
that every generation in which the Bais HaMikdash is not rebuilt, it is
considered as if the Bais HaMikdash was destroyed in its day?

Oded:  That’s correct!  The same force that caused
the destruction is still present.  That force continues to destroy the Bais
HaMikdash that could potentially be rebuilt.

Menaseh:  We really need to fix that sin.  How much
longer must we remain in golus because of it?

If you have any
questions regarding these lessons, feel free to contact Rabbi Faivel Adelman clicking here.


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1 Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 8 Par. 6

2 Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 8 Par. 6


Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 2 Chap. 7

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