Lesson 72c Head of household’s responsibility – Avak loshon horah definition

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Lesson #72c

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have in mind that you are studying this material as a merit for a specific
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Head of
household’s responsibility

  1. What is my responsibility as head of household in regard
    to preventing my family from speaking loshon horah?
  1. It is your obligation to ensure that loshon horah is not
    spoken in your home.  As such, if a member of your household is speaking
    loshon horah, you need to rebuke him/her in a gentle tone.   You should depict
    for him/her the terrible punishment in store for those who speak loshon
    horah and the great reward awaiting those who refrain from speaking loshon
    horah.  It’s crucial that the head of the household guard his own tongue
    very carefully as well.  Aside from the sin of speaking loshon horah, he
    renders his words of rebuke ineffective when his family sees that he
    himself is not careful about how he speaks.  In addition, to a great
    extent, the behavior of the household is very much dependent on the way
    the head of the household conducts himself.


Avak loshon horah
– Definition

  1. What is avak loshon horah (the dust of loshon horah)?
  1. Avak loshon horah is a term that refers to speech that is
    not loshon horah but is close to it and is forbidden as well.  Examples of
    this are:
  • Saying something that can cause others to speak loshon
  • Praising a person in a way that can cause him harm.
  • Saying something that people will suspect is loshon horah
    even if it’s actually not loshon horah.


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:  We’ve been discussing the importance of
making a Cheshbon; a calculation of the benefit of mitzvos and avairos versus
the loss.

Oded:  I’d like to continue a bit on that topic if
you don’t mind.

Menaseh:  Not at all!

Oded:  The posuk that we were discussing was: “On
this, the Moshlim will say: come to Cheshbon it should be built and established
as the city of Sichon”.
 The next posuk states as follows: “Because a
fire has come out of Cheshbon, a flame from the city of Sichon, it has consumed
Or of Moav and the Baalei bamos of Sichon”.

Menaseh:  What would you like to do with that?

Oded:  The Gemora in Meseches Bava Basra makes the
following drasha.  The city of Sichon mentioned in the previous posuk, in
Hebrew reads: Ir Sichon.  Ir can also be pronounced Ayar which means a
donkey.  Sichon is similar to Siyocha which is a female donkey.

Menaseh:  That’s very interesting but why are we
discussing donkeys here?

Oded:  The posuk, when it says Ir Sichon is
alluding to people who go after their desires, like a donkey going after a Siyocha.

Menaseh:  What about them?

Oded:  The next posuk tells us “a fire came out of
Cheshbon a flame from the city of Sichon”
.   A fire comes out of those who
do a Cheshbon, a calculation; a flame from the city of Sichon. Sichon is
similar to sichin which means bushes or trees and we find that Tzadikim are compared
to trees in the scriptures.  Thus, the posuk is telling us that flames will
come out of those who make the calculation and out of the Tzadikim.  “It has
consumed Or of Moav and the Baalei bamos of Sichon”.
  The fire will consume
the Ayar of Moav which represents those who go after their desires.  The Baalei
Bamos of Sichon refers to those who are haughty.

Menaseh:  I don’t get it.  What does it mean a fire
will come out of those who make a calculation and consume those who go after
their desires?

Oded:  It dovetails very well with what we mentioned
previously.  The fire is the fire of Gehinom.  It will not affect those who
make a calculation and remain righteous even in the face of ridicule from those
who go after there desires and are haughty.  Instead, the punishment for the
sins of the righteous will fall upon the wicked who ridiculed them.

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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 8 Par. 14

2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 9 Par. 1,3


Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 2 Chap. 8

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