Lesson 7c Revealing how you voted

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Lesson #5c

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have in mind that you are studying this material as a merit for a specific
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The “leniency” of speaking
loshon horah in front of 3 or more people


  1. If loshon horah is said in front of 3 or more people, is it
  1. No.  As a matter of fact the more listeners the greater the
    sin.  This is for 2 reasons:
    1. The more listeners the greater the harm inflicted on the
      person you are speaking about.
    2. You are causing more people to sin by listening to loshon


  1. The Gemora in Meseches Bava Basra pg. 39a states: “Anything
    that is said in front of 3 people does not violate the prohibition of
    loshon horah”.  That seems to contradict what you just stated above.
  1. If you look at the various Rishonim (early commentators)
    on this Gemora, you will see that there are 5 different approaches to
    explaining this Gemora.  Not one of them takes the Gemora at its face
    value, that it is permissible to speak loshon horah in front of three
    people.  I will share with you 2 of the approaches that are brought down
    by the Chofetz Chaim as Halachah:

1.      It is referring to a statement that can be interpreted in 2 different
ways, depending on the intonation.  For example, I ask my friend: “where can I
find a meal at this late hour?”  My friend replies: “go to Shmuel’s house, he
always has something cooking”.  This can be interpreted in 2 different ways
depending on the intonation. 

Shmuel is a glutton. 

Shmuel is a kind, hospitable person, who always has
people over for meals. 

When a statement like this is made
in front of three people, we can assume it will be stated in a favorable way.  However,
something that is clearly loshon horah may not be said in front of 3 people.  This
is the approach of Tosafos in Meseches Arachin 15b.

2.      If one violated the prohibition of speaking loshon horah and slandered
someone in front of 3 people, any one of the 3 listeners may casually pass the
information on to others.  The reason for this is, since the slander was said
in the presence of 3 people, one can assume that word will get out and it will
become public knowledge.  The Torah does not forbid loshon horah on matters
that are common knowledge.  This is the opinion of the Rambam.  However, the
Chofetz Chaim does not recommend relying on this leniency as will be explained
in the upcoming 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:  That which I told you yesterday that a Jew
without Torah will dry up and spiritually perish like a fish out of water, is
actually a posuk in Chumash.

Menaseh:  Really?!  Which posuk?

Oded:  The posuk in Parshas Bechukosai states: “and
if you will not listen to me etc.”  Rashi explains that what the posuk means is
that if you do not toil in Torah.  The posuk then goes on to list another six
things that will result, each one worse than the other, each one causing the
other.  That is a total of 7 sins all brought about by the first sin of not
toiling in Torah.

Menaseh:  Just out of curiosity, what are the other 6

Oded:  1) As a result of not toiling in Torah a
person will not perform the mitzvos.  2)  After not keeping the mitzvos he will
begin despising those who do.  3)  He then will have a hatred for the Torah
scholars who naturally advocate mitzvah observance and rebuke those who don’t
adhere to the mitzvos of Hashem.  4) He will prevent others from performing the
mitzvos. 5) As a result of his guilty conscious, he will deny that Hashem ever
commanded the mitzvos, i.e. deny the Torah.  6) And finally, he will reject the
existence of Hashem altogether.

Menaseh:  All that results from not learning Torah?

Oded:  That’s correct.  A fish out of water will
eventually dry up and perish.  The Torah is our water and the key to our
spiritual life.  Without it we will wither and die.

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. 2 Par.

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


Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Sha’ar HaTorah Chap. 10

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