Lesson 76c Rebuking
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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.
- If I’m with a group of people who are speaking loshon
horah, what are my responsibilities as far as rebuking them?
- If you think that your rebuke can deter them from speaking
loshon horah, you are obligated to rebuke them. If you feel it won’t help
but it also won’t harm, i.e. they won’t increase the loshon horah as a
result of your rebuke, then you are still obligated to voice your
opposition, so that people shouldn’t think that you are party to the
loshon horah being spoken or in agreement with it. Additionally, you are
required to stand up in defense of the innocent individual who is being
- What is my obligation as far as rebuking my children?
- You are obligated to rebuke your children and prevent them
from speaking loshon horah even if they are still minors, i.e. below the
age of bar or bas mitzvah. A major reason why people speak loshon horah
as adults is because they were never properly trained as children to guard
their tongues. To the contrary, they’re accustomed to speak as they wish,
without limitations. As a result, even when they’re adults and they
realize that loshon horah is forbidden, it’s difficult for them to break their
long standing habits. Since speech is very much controlled by habit, it’s
crucial to train your children at a young age to guard their tongues,
thereby forming the good habit of not speaking loshon horah. This will
make it much easier for them as adults to guard there tongue and merit the
great reward reserved for those who refrain from speaking 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.
Oded: The next reference to loshon horah is in
Menaseh: That of course is when Cham told his 2
brothers about their father Noach’s condition.
Oded: Not only did Cham not cover his father on his
own, but he went outside to the market place and publicized it.
Menaseh: How do you know that he told it in the
Oded: The posuk says “outside”; Targum Onklus translates
that to mean the market. Because Cham was not concerned for his father’s
dignity and shamed him publicly, Noach cursed him. The next reference might
not be so obvious since it’s based on a Medrash; it’s in Parshas Vayeitzai.
Menaseh: I not sure what you’re referring to.
Oded: When Yaakov was making his way down to Lavan
he prayed to Hashem and said: “And you should protect me on this path that I am
going”. The Medrash explain that Yaakov was asking Hashem to protect him from
Menaseh: Why is this the appropriate time for him to
request specifically that?
Oded: When a person goes on a dangerous path he
requires an extra level of protection from Hashem. The sin of loshon horah
causes the divine presence to depart. Therefore, Yaakov requested of Hashem to
help him guard his tongue from loshon horah so that the divine presence will be
with him and protect him on his treacherous journey.
Menaseh: Was his trip to Lavan really that
Oded: It certainly was! We see this from the fact
that when Yaakov departed Lavan pursued him and was going to kill him if not
for Hashem’s intervention. That is why it was essential for Yaakov to be clean
from the sin of loshon horah.
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1 Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 9 Par. 4
2 Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 9 Par. 5 and
Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 2 Chap. 9