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ARCHIVES: HILCHOS LASHON HARA & RECHILUS PART 1

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BELOW ARE THE HALACHOS FROM THE DAILY EMAILS THAT WERE SENT OUT TO THE “HALACHA FOR TODAY” DAILY EMAIL LIST

Halachos for Sunday January 31, 2021

Introduction:

 

We will now, B’Ezras Hashem, begin studying the vital Halachos of ‘Lashon Hara’ and 'Rechilus'.

 

We will endeavor to keep things simple and straightforward, and try to present the many aspects of this often complex topic, in a simple, understandable and practical way.

 

Being that the Tur and Shulchan Aruch did not codify this topic, we are following the "Shulchan Aruch of Hilchos Lashon Hara", i.e., the ‘Sefer Chofetz Chaim’, written by Harav Yisroel Meir Hakohen Kagan of Radin, the holy Chofetz Chaim Zatzal , who is universally known by the title of this Sefer.

 

All Halachos that are presented without any additional source information, are taken directly from the words of the holy Chofetz Chaim (who is also the author of Mishna Berura) , who is generally accepted as an authority and often as “the final word” in matters pertaining to Halacha in general, and surely, as they pertain to the Halachos of Lashon Hara, which was one of his life's primary missions.

 

It is our collective Tefilah to Hashem that our learning of these important Halachos serve as a vehicle for us all to better appreciate the value of speech and thus improve our day-to-day interactions with one another in the realm of speech.

 

May we all eradicate Lashon Hara from our lives – as it was the primary cause of the Churban Bais Hamikdash, and continues to be the primary reason for the lengthy and bitter Galus that we are still suffering in (as is demonstrated in the introduction to Sefer Chofetz Chaim)  – and thereby merit the long awaited Geulah Shelaima, with the arrival of Mashiach Tzidkeinu B’meheira B’Yameinu!

 

 

1) There are various Torah commandments, both positive and negative ones, which can be transgressed when speaking Lashon Hara (forbidden speech) or Rechilus (literally translated as peddling gossip; we will delve into more detail of this variation of forbidden speech as we progress, B‘Ezras Hashem)

 

Additionally, there are biblical curses which can befall a person who engages in negative speech.

 

Before we delve into the practical Halachos of forbidden speech, we will enumerate the applicable Torah verses for these commandments and curses.

 

2) There are 17(!) negative commandments that can potentially be transgressed when speaking/hearing forbidden speech.

 

# 1 of 17 is:

 לֹא־תֵלֵ֤ךְ רָכִיל֙ בְּעַמֶּ֔יךָ

 

One who speaks Lashon Hara or Rechilus regarding another Jew, be it in his presence or behind his back, transgresses the biblical prohibition against peddling gossip, as it states (Vayikra 19:16) Lo Seilech Rachil B’Amecha.

 

#2 of 17 is:

 לֹ֥א תִשָּׂ֖א שֵׁ֣מַע שָׁ֑וְא

 

One who speaks evil of another, as well as the one who hears it, transgress the biblical prohibition against giving/accepting false reports, as it states (Shemos 23:1) Lo Sisa Sheima Shav.

 

Halachos for Monday, February 1, 2021

 

1)  # 3 of 17 is:

הִשָּׁ֧מֶר בְּנֶֽגַע־הַצָּרַ֛עַת לִשְׁמֹ֥ר מְאֹ֖ד וְלַֽעֲשׂ֑וֹת

 

One who speaks Lashon Hara transgresses the biblical prohibition against doing an action that can result in Tzara’as, as it states (Devarim 24:8) Hishamer B’Nega Hatora’as Lishmor Me’od La’sos.

 

It is questionable if the one hearing the Lashon Hara transgresses this commandment if he believes what he hears in his heart, even if he remains silent.

 

2)  #4 of 17 is:

וְלִפְנֵ֣י עִוֵּ֔ר לֹ֥א תִתֵּ֖ן מִכְשֹׁ֑ל

 

One who speaks Lashon Hara, as well as one who listens to what is being spoken, transgresses the biblical prohibition against placing a stumbling block in front of a blind person, as it states (Vayikra 19:14) V’Lifnei Iver Lo Siten Michshol.

 

For the one speaking, it is a separate transgression for each of the people listening to his words, so if, for example, he is speaking Lashon Hara in front of 10 people, he transgresses 10 distinct negative commandments for relating one statement of Lashon Hara!

 

Halachos for Tuesday, February 2, 2021

 

1) #5 of 17 is:

הִשָּׁ֣מֶר לְךָ֔ פֶּן־תִּשְׁכַּ֖ח אֶת־ה' אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ

 

One who speaks Lashon Hara transgresses the biblical prohibition against being arrogant (as one who speaks negatively and disparagingly about another, is deemed by Chazal to be a haughty person who considers himself to be a person of higher standing than the one he is verbally ridiculing.) as it states (Devarim 8:11) Hishamer Lecha Pen Tishkach Es Hashem Elokecha.

 

2) The character trait of Ga’avah, haughtiness, is an extremely harsh sin, as the Talmud (Sotah 5a and other places) states that one who is arrogant is likened to an idol worshipper, does not merit getting up at Techiyas Hameisim, is called an abominable person, Hashem says about him that ‘Me and him cannot exist together in the same world’, and other such frightening things.

 

If we would train ourselves to focus on our own faults instead of on the faults of others, we would find ourselves less likely to speak Lashon Hara, as too often the reason one speaks Lashon Hara is to elevate himself by way of putting someone else down.

 

This specific transgression only applies to the one speaking and not to the one listening. Also, it applies to Lashon Hara and not to Rechilus.

Halachos for Wednesday, February 3, 2021

 

1)  #6 of 17 is:

וְלֹ֤א תְחַלְּלוּ֙ אֶת־שֵׁ֣ם קָדְשִׁ֔י

 

One who speaks Lashon Hara, as well as the one who listens to it,  transgresses the biblical prohibition against desecrating Hashem’s Name, as it states (Vayikra 22:32) V’Lo Sichalelu Es Shem Kodshi.

 

2) Since there is no physical pleasure derived from speaking/hearing Lashon Hara, doing so is deemed to be a rebellious act against Hashem (Mered) and a senseless rejection of the yoke of Heaven (Prikas Ol), and thus deemed a Chilul Hashem.

 

This is even more so if the one speaking the Lashon Hara is a respectable person who people look up to, which exacerbates the Chilul Hashem aspect of what he is doing.

 

Moreover, if the Lashon Hara is being spoken in public, it makes the sin all the more harsh, as then it is deemed a public desecration of Hashem’s name, Chas V’shalom.

 

The Heavenly retribution for the sin of Chilul Hashem is unspeakable, and this sin should be avoided at all costs. (See Talmud Kidusin 40a and the last Rashi on the page. See also Pirkei Avos Perek 4 Mishna 4)

 

Halachos for Thursday, February 4, 2021

 

1)  #7 of 17 is:

לֹֽא־תִשְׂנָ֥א אֶת־אָחִ֖יךָ בִּלְבָבֶ֑ךָ

 

One who speaks Lashon Hara about another Jew, behind is back, often transgresses the sin of harboring hate in your heart for another Jew, as it states (Vayikra 19:17) Lo Sisna es Achicha B’levavecha

 

2) This sin would be transgressed if, when in the presence of the one he is speaking about he pretends to be at peace with him, and only when he is not in that person’s presence, he speaks ill of him to others.

 

This transgression is surely applicable if the one speaking specifically tells the ones he is speaking to that they should not repeat what he said to the one it was about.

 

One who disparages another Jew to his face, does not transgress this specific sin (though he transgresses quite a few other ones, especially if it’s in public)

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, February 5, 2021;

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1)  #8 and #9 of 17 are:

לֹֽא־תִקֹּ֤ם וְלֹֽא־תִטֹּר֙ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י עַמֶּ֔ךָ

 

One who speaks Lashon Hara about another Jew, often transgresses the sin of taking revenge, or harboring a grudge in your heart against another Jew, as it states (Vayikra 19:18) Lo Sikom V’Lo Sitor Es Bnei Amecha

 

2) An example of this would be, if one asked a monetary favor of another Jew and he declined to assist him (e.g. rejected his request to borrow money), and he now bears hate in his heart toward him for this refusal.

 

Then when he subsequently observes something negative about the one for whom he has hate in his heart, he goes and publicizes it.

 

The original harboring of the grudge in his heart is a transgression of “Lo SItor”, and the subsequent relating of the negative things he observes, brought about due to harboring this grudge, is a transgression of “Lo Sikom”. As difficult as this may seem, the Torah mandates that he remove the grudge from his heart.

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) Regarding the one listening to the Lashon Hara, if he too assists and enjoys what he is hearing, as he too was once the victim of the same person’s non-assistance, he too will transgress these two prohibitions.

 

2)  Unfortunately, this is all too common, as ‘misery loves company’, and all too often when one feels hurt by someone the natural response is to seek out another person who was also hurt by that person and to disparage him together, in hopes of making themselves feel better.

 

This is a trap of the Yetzer Hra and must be avoided at all costs.

 

Halachos for Sunday February 7, 2021

 

1)  #10 of 17 is:

 

לֹֽא־יָקוּם֩ עֵ֨ד אֶחָ֜ד בְּאִ֗ישׁ לְכָל־עָו‍ֹן֙ וּלְכָל־חַטָּ֔את

 

One who gives testimony about another Jew to a Bais Din, without having a second witness corroborating his testimony, transgresses the sin of  rising up alone against another to proclaim his sins and iniquities, as it states (Devarim 19: 15) Lo Yakum Eid Echad B’Ish L’Kol Avon U’Lkol Chatos. (Of course, if one has a second witness to corroborate what he is saying, or if he feels Bais din may have someone else to join him in his testimony, that can be a perfectly acceptable testimony, and he should discuss with a Rav if he may/must come forward)

 

2) The reason for this is that such testimony, without a second witness, is worthless and has no tangible benefit. Bais Din cannot adjudicate a monetary ruling based on his lone testimony, nor can they require the party being spoken about to swear, nor can they effect the reputation (Yichus) of the one being spoken about based on this testimony. (Of course, in situations where Bais Din can compel the party to swear, it would be allowed. We are not elaborating on that here. In all cases, a Rav must be consulted)

 

Thus his testimony is deemed baseless Lashon Hara (and it also carries the penalty of Malkos)

 

If the Bais Din accepts his testimony as truth, they too transgress this prohibition.

 

 

 

Halachos for Monday, February 8, 2021

 

1) The transgressions we enumerated until now were for any individual who speaks/listens to Lashon Hara.

 

2)    #11 of 17 is

לֹא־תִֽהְיֶ֥ה אַֽחֲרֵֽי־רַבִּ֖ים לְרָעֹ֑ת

  

One who attaches himself/herself to an unscrupulous group of individuals, i.e. a bad Chevra of Ba’alei Lashon Hara, for the purpose of gossiping to them or listening to gossip from them, transgresses the sin of following an evil majority, as it states (Shemos 23:2) Lo Sih’yeh Acharei Rabim L’Ra’os.

 

This transgression is not just for Lashon Hara; it also applies in general to one who clings to a bad group who engage in sinful activities.This should be avoided at all costs.

 

 

 

 

Halachos for Tuesday, February 9, 2021

 

1)  #12 of 17 is:

וְלֹא־יִֽהְיֶ֤ה כְקֹ֨רַח֙ וְכַ֣עֲדָת֔וֹ

 

One who speaks Lashon Hara and thereby supports an ongoing quarrel (Machlokes), transgresses the sin of supporting quarrels , as it states (Bamidbar 17:5) V’Lo Yih’yeh K’Korach U’K’adaso.

 

2) It is possible that this transgression applies as well to the one listening to Lashon Hara, and not only to the one who is speaking, as if the listener would have made it clear – verbally or via a facial or gesture of disappointment – that he has no interest in hearing this gossip and thereby continuing to support this quarrel, it would have quelled the quarrel.

Halachos for Wednesday, February 10, 2021

 

1)  #13 of 17 is:

וְלֹ֤א תוֹנוּ֙ אִ֣ישׁ אֶת־עֲמִית֔וֹ

 

If one relates Lashon Hara in the presence of the one being spoken about and thereby causes him anguish, he transgresses the sin of O’nas Devarim, verbally distressing another person , as it states (Vayikra 25:17) Lo Sonu Ish Es Amiso. (See Talmud Bava Metzia 58b and Tur Choshen Mishpat Siman 228:1 that verbally hurting someone is worse than physically hurting them)

 

2) This transgression applies only to the one relating Lashon Hara and not to the one hearing it.

 

Furthermore, this transgression applies even if the only one present is the one being disparaged, and no other people are there to hear him being verbally battered.

 

Halachos for Thursday, February 11, 2021

 

1)     #14 of 17 is:

וְלֹֽא־תִשָּׂ֥א עָלָ֖יו חֵֽטְא

 

If when speaking Lashon Hara in the presence of the victim, he/she gets embarrassed, and displays a facial color change, he transgresses the sin of shaming another Jew and thus bearing a sin on another’s account , as it states (Vayikra 19:17) V’Lo Sisa Alav Chet.

 

2) This Torah directive is to be cautious not to embarrass another Jew, even while rebuking him in a Torah-mandated, constructive way, even with no other people present. How much more so does this sin apply when doing it blatantly for gossip purposes, with no constructive purpose, and with other people there to witness his shame.

 

Chazal have already taught us (Pirkei Avos Perek 3 Mishna 11/Mishna 15 in some versions) that one who embarrasses another Jew publicly, forfeits his portion in Olam Haba, the World to Come.

 

This is a serious transgression and must be taken very seriously.

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, February 12, 2021; Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

 

1) #15 of 17 is:

כָּל־אַלְמָנָ֥ה וְיָת֖וֹם לֹ֥א תְעַנּֽוּן

 

If the one being spoken about is a widow or an orphan (even if they are financially wealthy) if it is in their presence, he transgresses the sin of oppressing a widow or an orphan , as it states (Shemos 22:21) Kol Almana V’Yasom Lo Se’anun.

 

2) This particular sin is only transgressed by the one speaking and not by anyone who is listening to what is being spoken.

 

However, anyone listening to a widow or orphan being verbally harassed , and sits idly by without coming to their defense, surely will get a heavenly punishment for their inaction, as there is a special requirement to treat widows and orphans with extra compassion and sensitivity. (See Rambam at length in Sefer Hamitzvos Mitzvah 256)

 

Some Rishonim maintain that this transgression applies to all downtrodden and exploited people, not just to orphans and widows. (See Rashi to Shemos 22:21)

 

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

 

1)  #16 of 17 is:

וְלֹא־תַֽחֲנִ֣יפוּ אֶת־הָאָ֗רֶץ

 

If the one relating the Lashon Hara is doing so to flatter the one he is relating it to, he transgresses the sin of Chanifa, flattery , as it states (Bamidbar 35:33) V’Lo Sachnifu Es Ha’aretz.

 

A classic example of such Chanifa is if the one relating the Lashon Hara knows that the one he is speaking to harbors a dislike for the one who the Lashon Hara is about, and thus he hopes to find favor in the eyes of the one he is talking to via sharing something negative with him about the one who he dislikes.

 

2) It is, unfortunately, very common when hearing Lashon Hara about someone, that the one listening adds to the Lashon Hara, either by interjecting his own “two cents” or by nodding his head in agreement.



Often the one listening does this, despite knowing that what he is hearing, and his nodding or verbal participation, is against halacha, yet he does it due to the fact that the one who is speaking is a “respectable” person or someone that the listener wants to get a political or other favor from. Sometimes the listener fears that if he does not nod in agreement or participate, the speaker will label him as an unwise person who doesn’t have an opinion about the subject at hand.

 

Even though it is often difficult to refrain from such nodding or participation in this conversation, it is important to note that the Torah mandates him avoiding this at all costs, lest he transgress the sin of Chanifah by adding to the Lashon Hara with even one gesture or word of agreement to what is being spoken.

 

Moreover, the one listening is required to rebuke the one speaking for what he is saying, and if he refrains from rebuking him (where the rebuke would have been accepted) he is considered to be transgressing Chanifah simply by virtue of his remaining silent in place of standing up and giving rebuke.

 

Halachos for Sunday February 14, 2021

 

1)  #17 of 17 is:

לֹֽא־תְקַלֵּ֣ל חֵרֵ֔שׁ

 

If while one is angrily speaking Lashon Hara, he curses the one he is speaking about, and does so using the name of Hashem (even in English or another language) he transgresses the sin of cursing another Jew, as it states (Vayikra 19:14) Lo Sekalel Cheresh. (even though the Posuk states “Do not curse a deaf person, Chazal learn that it means “even” a deaf person who can’t hear you, but certainly a person who can hear you. See Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat Siman 27:1 and commentary of the Sma there.)

 

2) Even though this sin is not for the transgression of speaking Lashon Hara per se, the Chofetz Chaim listed it along with the other 16 transgressions that are directly attributed to the actual Lashon Hara, as sadly, it is all too common to transgress this sin in conjunction with the other transgressions of Lashon Hara.

 

This sin is transgressed regardless if the person being cursed is present or not.

 

 

Halachos for Monday, February 15, 2021

 

1) Besides for the 17 negative commandments that can be transgressed by speaking Lashon Hara, there are also many positive commandments that are lost by virtue of speaking Lashon Hara (Bitul Mitzvas Asei, which is also a sin)

 

#1 of 14 of the positive commandments abandoned by speaking Lashon Hara is:

זָכ֕וֹר אֵ֧ת אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂ֛ה ה' אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ לְמִרְיָ֑ם בַּדֶּ֖רֶךְ בְּצֵֽאתְכֶ֥ם מִמִּצְרָֽיִם

 

One who speaks Lashon Hara most likely has forgotten about (at least for a few moments) the punishment that Hashem meted out to the righteous prophetess, Miriam, for speaking Lashon Hara, thus foregoing the positive commandment to remember this event, as it states (Devarim 24:9) Zachor Es Asher Asah Hashem Elokecha L’Miriam B’Derech B’Tzeischem Mimitzrayim.

 

Miriam loved her brother, Moshe Rabbeinu, and raised him, and put herself in danger to save him. Miriam did not speak in a degrading way about him. She did not speak in front of him in a way that would embarrass him. She did not speak about him publicly, and Moshe was not offended by her words. Yet, the Torah tells us that she was punished for her words.

 

How much more careful must we be with Lashon Hara when our intentions are far less noble, and there is degradation, humiliation, hurt feelings, and an audience involved!

 

2) It is due to the severity of the sin of Lashon Hara that the Torah commanded us to verbally and in mentally keep the story of Miriam in our mind constantly! (This is one of the 6 constant remembrances in the Torah)

 

 

Halachos for Tuesday, February 16, 2021

 

1) #2 of 14 of the positive commandments abandoned by speaking Lashon Hara is:

וְאָֽהַבְתָּ֥ לְרֵֽעֲךָ֖ כָּמ֑וֹךָ

 

One who speaks or listens to Lashon Hara foregoes the Torah commandment to be careful with others’ money and others’ feelings the way he would be careful with his own money and feelings , as it states (Vayikra 19:18) V’Ahavta L’Rayacha kamocha.

 

2) Speaking or listening to Lashon Hara shows that you don’t love the person who the Lashon Hara is about.

 

Just as every individual has flaws, faults, shortcomings and weaknesses, yet does everything in his/her power to hide those failings from becoming known, and even when they are related to others, they hope that the ones hearing about it won’t accept the information as true (even if it is the truth), so too must every Jew act in regard to their fellow Jew, and not spread their failings to others, and not listen and believe what is related to them about others.

 

Rather, every Jew must try and speak positively about others and praise them – and also work to hide their fellow Jew’s imperfections – as that is a true expression of loving one another as we love ourselves, and that is what the Torah demands of us.

 

 

Halachos for Wednesday, February 17, 2021

 

1) #3 of 14 of the positive commandments abandoned by speaking Lashon Hara is:

בְּצֶ֖דֶק תִּשְׁפֹּ֥ט עֲמִיתֶֽךָ

 

At times, one who speaks Lashon Hara foregoes the Torah commandment to judge another Jew favorably, as it states (Vayikra 19:15) B’Tzedek Tishpot Amisecha.

 

2) This would be the case if one heard another Jew saying something, or saw another Jew doing something that can be interpreted two ways – one that will put that person in a negative light and one that won’t – and he went ahead and judged him unfavorably and related the story,with the critical interpretation , to another person.

 

If the one hearing the Lashon Hara accepts it with the negative interpretation and thus deems the person spoken about as having said or done a negative thing, he too forgoes on this commandment. 

 

 

Halachos for Thursday, February 18, 2021

 

1) #4 of 14 of the positive commandments forfeited by speaking Lashon Hara is:

וְהֶֽחֱזַ֣קְתָּ בּ֔וֹ גֵּ֧ר וְתוֹשָׁ֛ב וָחַ֖י עִמָּֽךְ

 

If one speaks negatively about a fellow Jew, and due to spreading this negativity about him/her, it leads to their reputation being sullied, and to their losing their livelihood, he foregoes the Torah commandment to support other Jews and enable them to live amongst you, as it states (Vayikra 25:35) V’Hechezakta Bo Ger V’Toshav V’Chai Imach

 

2) Furthermore, the very next Posuk (Vayikra 25:36) proclaims וְחֵ֥י אָחִ֖יךָ עִמָּֽךְ, V’Chay Achicah Imach, a Torah commandment to “Let your brother live with you!”,which is a directive to support fellow Jews in their financial pursuits in any way that you can, and surely not to speak against him/her or otherwise do any actions to make him/her lose money!

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, February 19, 2021;

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) #5 of 14 of the positive commandments possibly forfeited by engaging in Lashon Hara is:

הוֹכֵ֤חַ תּוֹכִ֨יחַ֙ אֶת־עֲמִיתֶ֔ךָ

 

Oftentimes, the one listening to Lashon Hara knows that what he is about to hear (and accept) is Lashon Hara or Rechilus, and he knows that if he rebukes the one speaking he will accept the rebuke and refrain from continuing to speak. In this situation, the Torah demands that the listener reprimand the speaker, and thus put a stop to the forbidden speech.

 

If the one listening does not put a stop to it, and allows the speaker to keep talking, he foregoes the Torah commandment to rebuke a fellow Jew who is sinning, as it states (Vayikra 19:17) Ho’chayach To’chiach Es Amisecha

 

2) Even if the one listening is in doubt if what he is about to hear is Lashon Hara or Rechus, he must reprimand the speaker, to stop him in his tracks, lest he speak forbidden speech.

 

 

Halachos for v Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) #6 of 14 of the positive commandments possibly forfeited by speaking Lashon Hara is:

וּב֣וֹ תִדְבָּ֔ק

 

If one attaches himself to a group of evildoers, to a group of gossipers, for the purpose of spreading lashon Hara to them or to hear Lashon Hara from them, he foregoes the Torah commandment to cleave to Hashem, i.e. to attach oneself to Torah scholars in any way possible, as it states (Devarim 10:20) U’Bo Sidbok. (See Talmud Kesuvos 111b)

 

2) #7 of 14 of the positive commandments possibly forfeited by engaging in Lashon Hara is:

וּמִקְדָּשִׁ֖י תִּירָ֑אוּ 

 

If one speaks or listens to Lashon Hara in a Bais Medrash or a Shul (Bais Hakneses), he foregoes the Torah commandment to treat Hashem’s sanctuaries (Mikdashei Me’at) with reverence and awe, as it states (Vayikra 26:2) U’Mikdashi Ti’ra'u

 

Halachos for Sunday February 21, 2021

 

1) #8 of 14 of the positive commandments possibly forfeited by engaging in Lashon Hara is:

וְהָֽדַרְתָּ֖ פְּנֵ֣י זָקֵ֑ן

 

If one speaks Lashon Hara about a person over the age of 70 (even if he is not a Torah scholar, provided that he is not a Rasha; See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh deah Siman 244:1) he foregoes the Torah commandment to respect elderly people, as it states (Vayikra 19:32) V’Hadarta P’nei Zaken.

 

One who speaks Lashon Hara about a Talmid Chacham (surely in his presence, and possibly even not in his presence) even if he isn’t elderly in age, is also liable for foregoing the this commandment.

 

It is questionable if the one listening to Lashon Hara being spoken about an elderly person and/or the Talmid Chacham forgoes this positive commandment as well.

 

2)  If the one being spoken about is both elderly and a Talmid Chacham, the one speaking about him (and possibly the ones listening too) forego this commandment twice! (besides for the terrible sin of degrading a Torah scholar, which can transform the one speaking into an Apikores, a heretic, who loses his portion in the world to come, a subject we will elaborate on more in the future)

 

 

Halachos for Monday, February 22, 2021

 

1) #9 of 14 of the positive commandments possibly forfeited by engaging in Las’hon Hara is:

וְקִ֨דַּשְׁתּ֔וֹ

 

If one speaks Lashon Hara about a Kohen (surely in his presence, and possibly even behind his back),  he foregoes the Torah commandment to sanctify a Kohen, as it states (Vayikra 21:8) V’Kidashto.

 

2) It is possible that the one listening to the Lashon Hara about the Kohen also is disrespecting him, and thus also foregoes this commandment.

 

 

Halachos for Tuesday, February 23, 2021

 

1) #10 of 14 of the positive commandments possibly forfeited by engaging in Lashon Hara is:

כַּבֵּ֥ד אֶת־אָבִ֖יךָ וְאֶת־אִמֶּ֑ךָ

 

If one speaks Lashon Hara about his older brother, his mother’s husband or his father’s wife (in their presence, and possibly also not in their presence) he foregoes the Torah commandment to honor them, as Chazal derive from the extra word (Shemos 20:12) [Kabed Es Avicha] V’Es [Imecha].

 

2) Surely if one speaks Lashon Hara about his father or mother, he foregoes on the Torah commandment to honor his parents, as it states (Shemos 20:12) Kabed Es Avicha V’Es Imecha.

 

This applies even not in their presence.

 

Halachos for Wednesday, February 24, 2021

 

1) #11 of 14 of the positive commandments forfeited by engaging in Lashon Hara is:

אֶת־ה' אֱלֹהֶ֛יךָ תִּירָ֖א

 

One who speaks or listens to Lashon Hara foregoes the Torah commandment to fear Hashem and to be cognizant of the fact that Hashem sees everything that transpires at all times, and thus one must always hold back from doing things that are against the will of Hashem, as it states (Devarim 6:13) Es Hashem Elokecha Tira.

 

2) #12 of 14 of the positive commandments forfeited by engaging in Lashon Hara is:

וְשִׁנַּנְתָּ֣ם 

 

During the time that one is speaking or listening to Lashon Hara he foregoes the Torah commandment to learn Torah, as it states (Devarim 6:7) V’Shinantam.

 

Halachos for Thursday, February 25, 2021

 

1) #13 of 14 of the positive commandments possibly forfeited by engaging in Lashon Hara is:

מִדְּבַר־שֶׁ֖קֶר תִּרְחָ֑ק 

 

If while speaking Lashon Hara, the speaker peppers his story with lies, misrepresentations and distortions, he forgoes the Torah commandment to stay far away from falsehood, as it states (Shemos 23:7) Midvar Sheker Tirchak

 

2) #14 of 14 of the positive commandments forfeited by engaging in Lashon Hara is:

וְהָֽלַכְתָּ֖ בִּדְרָכָֽיו 

 

One who speaks or listens to Lashon Hara, forgoes the Torah commandment to emulate the character traits (Midos) of Hashem, which are all good, as it states (Devarim 28:9) V’Halachta B’Drachav.

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, February 26, 2021;

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

 

Halacha for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) So far, we enumerated 17 negative Torah commandments (Lav) and 14 positive Torah commandments (Asei) which can be transgressed when one engages in Lashon Hara and Rechilus.

 

2) While one does not transgress all of them each time he/she speaks Lashon Hara, one who habitually speaks Lashon Hara, Chas V’Shalom, will, with time, end up transgressing most, if not all of them multiple times and cause much spiritual harm to himself and his family R”L, including via the curses that the Torah prescribes for ba’alei Lashon Hara, as we shall now learn.

 

 

Halacha for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) In addition to the many negative and positive Torah commandments that are transgressed by engaging in lashon Hara, there are 4 Torah curses that can unfortunately be applicable to one who speaks or listens to Lashon Hara.

 

2)  #1 of the 4 curses is:

אָר֕וּר מַכֵּ֥ה רֵעֵ֖הוּ בַּסָּ֑תֶר

 

One who speaks Lashon Hara is afflicted with the Torah curse reserved for one who strikes his friend secretly, as the posuk (Devarim 27:24) states Arur Makeh Ray’eihu BaSaser. (The “Striking” here is referring to Lashon Hara. See Rashi on the Posuk and Pirkei Drav Eliezer Perek 53)

 

 

Halachos for Sunday February 28, 2021

 

1)  #2 of the 4 curses is:

אָר֕וּר מַשְׁגֶּ֥ה עִוֵּ֖ר בַּדָּ֑רֶךְ

 

One who speaks Lashon Hara is afflicted with the Torah curse reserved for one who misguides a blind person, as the posuk (Devarim 27:18) states Arur Mashgeh Iver Baderech.

 

2) The criteria for getting this curse is similar to the criteria for transgressing the negative commandment of “Lifnei Iver Lo Siten Michshol” as we discussed previously.

 

This curse also includes anyone who misguides another Jew with advice that isn’t really proper for him, or with counsel that benefits the one giving the advice, but not the one seeking it. 

 

The Chofetz Chaim Zatzal (in his Be’er L’Miriam commentary, on this curse) bemoans the fact that this is all too common with shadchanim and other agents and brokers, where they are unfortunately too loose or disingenuous with their “advice” in their quest to push through a shidduch or a deal for their own monetary or other benefit , and it often leads to misguiding and hurting people and thus transgressing this commandment and being subject to this curse R”L.

 

Halachos for Monday, March 1, 2021

 

1)  #3 of the 4 curses is:

אָר֗וּר אֲשֶׁ֧ר לֹֽא־יָקִ֛ים אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֥י הַתּוֹרָֽה־הַזֹּ֖את לַֽעֲשׂ֣וֹת אוֹתָ֑ם

 

If, Chas V’Shalom, one totally disregards the prohibition of Lashon Hara and Rechilus, and dismissively ignores the seriousness of it, and doesn’t even try to hold back from engaging in such forbidden speech, he is subject to the Tora’s curse reserved for one who does not [even try to] uphold the Torah, as the posuk (Devarim 27:26) states Arur Asher Lo Yakim Es Divrei Hatorah Hazos La’asos Osam.

 

2) Furthermore, this person is deemed a “Mumar L’Davar Echad”, (an apostate in regards to this mitzvah) and thus deemed a “Mumar L’Kol Hatorah Kulah (a heretic in regards to the entire Torah R”L) (See Rabeinu Yonah n Sha’arei Teshva , Sha’ar 1:6)

 

 

Halachos for Tuesday, March 2, 2021

 

1)  #4 of the 4 curses is:

אָר֕וּר מַקְלֶ֥ה אָבִ֖יו וְאִמּ֑וֹ 

 

One who speaks Lashon Hara about his parents is subject to the Torah’s curse against degrading one’s parents, as it states (Devarim 27:16) Arur Asher Makleh Aviv V’Imo

 

2) The Talmud (Shavuos 36a) teaches that where there is a curse there is also Nidui, Heavenly expulsion.

 

A person who knows that he/she was not careful with the serious transgressions of Lashon Hara and Rechilus should do some serious introspection, lest they be subject to Heavenly expulsion Chas V'shalom.

 

 

HILCHOS LASHON HARA PART 2:

 

Halachos for Sunday May 9, 2021

 

We will now, B’Ezras Hashem, resume studying some of the vital Halachos of ‘Lashon Hara’, which we started before Pesach.

 

As we mentioned at the outset of studying this topic, we are, of course, using the ‘Sefer Chofetz Chaim’, written by Harav Yisroel Meir Hakohen Kagan of Radin, the holy Chofetz Chaim Zatzal , who is universally known by the title of this Sefer.

 

All Halachos that are presented without any additional source information, are taken directly from the words of the holy Chofetz Chaim (who is also the author of Mishna Berura) , who is often accepted as “the last word” on matters pertaining to Halacha in general , and surely, as they pertain to the Halachos of Lashon Hara.

 

May we eradicate Lashon Hara from our lives, and thereby merit the Geulah Shelaima, with the arrival of Mashiach Tzidkeinu B’meheira B’Yameinu! 

 

 

1)  There are 2 types of Lashon Hara:

 

a)  Relating something derogatory about another Jew.

b)  Relating something that, if publicized, can cause physical, financial or emotional damage to another Jew.

 

2) Both of these varieties are equally prohibited and are both Torah transgressions.

 

Thus, even if the one speaking Lashon Hara is 100% sure that no damage will befall the one being spoken about, it is still prohibited.

 

Halachos for Monday, May 10, 2021

 

1) If one relates something about another Jew, which if it becomes known will cause damage to the one being spoken about, even if there is nothing intrinsically derogatory about what is being related, it is Lashon Hara and thus prohibited.

 

2) Even if one is not speaking directly about another person, if something he relates can lead to another person being damaged or degraded (and the speaker does it in this roundabout way, with the intention of it leading to the other person being hurt or degraded) this too is Lashon Hara and prohibited. (Chazal refer to this as Lashon Hara B’Tzina, discreet Lashon Hara)

 

Halachos for Tuesday, May 11, 2021

 

1) Lashon Hara can be subjective, and can vary based on the person it is being spoken about, the place, the time and the like.

 

Something can be related about one individual for whom it is deemed a praise, while the same item related about another individual can be deemed derogatory.

 

2) For example, one can make a statement like “So and So gave $100 to the Shul’s Tzedakah campaign”.

 

If the person it is being related about is a wealthy person, it can be deemed a derogatory statement, while if the person being spoken about struggles financially, it can be deemed a praise.

 

 

Halachos for Wednesday, May 12, 2021

 

1) The prohibition of speaking Lashon Hara and Rechilus applies only to speaking about a Jew who is considered your “Fellow Jew” (Amisecha), i.e. he/she is observant of the Torah’s laws and follows the Torah’s commandments.

 

2) However, one may not arbitrarily deem another Jew as not being Torah observant based on one’s own definition or one’s own biases.

 

It is important to be well versed in the Torah’s definition of who is considered a “fellow Jew” and who is not before arbitrarily transgressing the severe prohibitions of Lashon Hara, based on one’s own definitions.

 

We will discuss more about this definition as we progress.

 

Halachos for Thursday, May 13, 2021

 

1) It is prohibited to relate about another Jew that he/she transgressed a Torah commandment.

 

2) This applies equally to positive commandments (such as saying, “He didn’t put on Tefilin today") and to negative commandments (such as saying “She ate something non-kosher")

 

This is the case even if the transgression in question is one that, sadly, many people are not careful with.

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, May 14, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) It is prohibited to relate about another Jew that he/she is not scrupulous in the proper respect of Mitzvos that they perform , such as saying that they are stingy in their spending in honor of Shabbos Kodesh.

 

2) It is likewise prohibited to relate about another Jew that they are not careful with a Rabbinic law or a Rabbinic edicts (such as a S’yag, fence, enacted to protect from transgressing an actual sin)

 

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) In all of the aforementioned cases, it is forbidden to relate about another Jew’s transgressions, even if we know it to be factual, as we must assume that they didn’t know the severity of the sin that they did or that they did it inadvertently.

 

2) Furthermore, if from the time that he/she was observed transgressing the sin, they were not observed transgressing it a second time, and furthermore they are otherwise behaving as an upstanding, observant Jew, we assume that they repented for that particular transgression, and are now deemed a proper Ba’al Teshuva. (If all of the above assumptions are not applicable, and they are not behaving as upstanding observant Jews in their daily lives, it may be permitted to relate their actions to others. We will discuss those rules and when they can be applied, as we progress)

 

 

Halachos for Sunday May 16, 2021

Triple Portion L'Kavod Chag HaShavus

 

Halachos for Sunday, Erev Chag HaShavuos

 

1) It is prohibited to relate about another Jew that he is not interested in learning Torah, even if he habitually ignores his obligation to study Torah.

 

2) The reason for this is that we assume that he is not aware of the severity of not studying Torah, and thus for this transgression alone, he has not forfeited his classification as a “fellow Jew”.

 

 

Halachos for Monday, First Day of Chag HaShavuos

 

1) It is prohibited to relate about another Jew that he refuses to lend money to those in need.

 

2) Similarly, it is prohibited to relate about another Jew that he/she is not a kind and giving person, and he does not do favors for people.

 

This is the case even if we know that they habitually do not do kindness with anyone, even when it is within their means to do so. Although this is indeed not a way for a Jew to live his/her life and indeed quite “Un-Jewish” to not be kind (See Talmud Yevamos 79a) , still this does not strip them of their classification of a “fellow Jew”, and all the laws of Lashon Hara apply to them.

 

 

Halachos for Tuesday, Second Day of Chag HaShavuos (Isru Chag in Eretz Yisroel)

 

1) It is forbidden to relate about another Jew that he/she is not intelligent.

This is the case even if what the intention to relate is that they aren’t “worldly”, which is still a negative thing to say.

 

2) Surely, it is forbidden to relate about someone who is recognized as a “Talmid Chacham” that “he isn’t as wise as people think he is” or similar negative comments, such as saying about a Rav of a Shul that “He is only knowledgeable in Halachos relevant to day-to-day operation of the community, but is not so knowledgeable in other areas of Torah”.

 

Similarly, it is forbidden to say about a respected Talmid Chacham in a city that “I know him from when he used to live in a different city… over there they didn’t respect him as much…” .



Likewise, it is forbidden to say about a public speaker, “He isn’t worth listening to” or “ He is not as interesting as people say he is” or “ He doesn’t know what he is talking about” or any similar negative comment.

 

 

Halachos for Wednesday, May 19, 2021

 

1)  It is prohibited to relate about a Jewish worker or service provider that he is not good at what he does.

 

For example, it is prohibited to say about a plumber or a seamstress that they do a less than perfect job or about an accountant or an attorney that their response time is slow, or the like.

 

2) In certain cases, where there is a To’eles, a valid reason, to share this information, it may be allowed when certain criteria are met. We will discuss more about To’eles and when it may be relied upon as we progress, B’Ezras Hashem.

 

 

Halachos for Thursday, May 20, 2021

 

1) Just as it is prohibited to speak Lashon Hara about an individual, so too, it is prohibited to speak Lashon Hara about someone’s things.

 

 

2) For example, it is prohibited for a storeowner to degrade or speak negatively about the wares of a competitor, or any such similar knocking of someone else’s merchandise.

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, May 21, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1)  It is prohibited to relate about another Jew that he is physically weak, if this information can cause him a loss.

 

2) For example, if the person being spoken about is a laborer or in another profession that requires strength, relating this information will be viewed negatively and cause him to lose jobs and lead to a financial loss for him.

 

The same applies to a teacher or a childcare provider who deals with small children, as relating that they are weak will convey the message that they lack energy and stamina to care for children, and will lead to them losing jobs or losing applicants.

 

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

 

1) It is forbidden to relate about another Jew that he is poor or otherwise struggling financially.

 

Furthermore, it is prohibited to relate about another Jew who has a reputation for being wealthy, that he is not as wealthy as people think, and that the money he spends actually puts him into debt.

 

2) The reason for this is that relating such information may lead to him being denied credit by people in the city, which can be damaging to him on many levels.

 

 

 

 

 

Halachos for Sunday May 23, 2021

 

1) It is forbidden to relate about another Jew that he was inappropriately arrogant or that he got angry when he shouldn’t have, or he otherwise displayed poor character (Midos Ra’os), as we must assume that he regrets his behavior and did Teshuva on his actions.

 

2)  Furthermore, even if he habitually acts in this manner, and it is evident that he does not feel remorse for behaving in such a manner, it is still forbidden to relate to others what he did and how he acted, as we must assume that he is not fully aware of the prohibition to behave with inferior Midos. 

 

Halachos for Monday May 24, 2021

 

1) As a general rule, when it comes to “Midos”, there is no one way that is right or wrong for everyone, and no one way that is proper for each situation.

 

For example, there are times where acting with anger, jealousy, zealousness and the like is highly inappropriate, and times when it is indeed warranted according to the Torah. (The entire Sefer Orchos Tzadikim is based on this premise, where he discusses various Midos, and their appropriate and inappropriate applications)

 

2) Thus, due to the many variables, based on the individual in question, the circumstances, the venue, the time etc., it is never possible to know exactly what transpired and why an individual acted a certain way which seemingly was without good Midos, and certainly we may not deem someone a Rasha based on observing him /her behaving with “bad” Midos.

 

Halachos for Tuesday May 25, 2021

 

1)  If something inappropriate transpires, and an individual inquires as to who did it, it is forbidden to reveal who the offender was.

 

2)  Even if the one being asked (Reuven) perceives that the one asking (Shimon) suspects him (Reuven) of being the guilty party, it is still forbidden to reveal who did it.

 

Instead, he (Reuven) should just say, “ I did not do it”.

 

Halachos for Wednesday, May 26, 2021

 

1) If something inappropriate transpires, and by simply saying to the one inquiring about who did it that “I did not do it” , it will be plainly evident who the real guilty party is (For example, if there were only 2 possible contenders , and by exonerating himself, he will automatically be implying that the other person was the guilty party) it would depend on what type of infraction is being discussed, as follows:

 

2) If the inappropriate thing that transpired was intrinsically inappropriate, seemingly it is halachically permissible to clear your own name of having done it by saying "I did not do it” even if by doing so it will automatically be clear who actually did it.

 

However, if the thing that transpired wasn’t actually inappropriate, but only seemed that way to one inquiring about it, it is questionable if it permissible to say “ I did not do it” if it will thereby be clear that the other person did it.

 

 

Halachos for Thursday, May 27, 2021

 

1)  We mentioned yesterday that there are situations where one may say “I did not do it” in order to exonerate himself from having done something inappropriate, even if by doing so it will automatically place the blame on another individual who actually did the inappropriate thing.

 

2) However, that is only according to the letter of the law, that he is permitted to say “I did not do it”. 

 

A scrupulous person (Ba’al Nefesh) , however, should go beyond the letter of the law (Lifnim Mishuras Hadin) and avoid saying I did not do it” if by doing so it will implicate another person, and thus cause him embarrassment.

 

Note: This entire case that we are discussing applies when the one inquiring about who did it, has no actual connection to the situation, and is just curious as to who did it. However, if the information is actually pertinent to him, the halacha may be different, and we will discuss that more at length as we progress in this topic, B'Ezras Hashem, and discuss the halachos of To’eles and their criteria.

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, May 28, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) Not only is actual Lashon Hara prohibited, even “Avak Lashon Hara” is prohibited.

 

Avak Lashon Hara, which literally translates as “The dust of Lashon Hara”, refers to any speech which provokes or leads to actual forbidden speech by others, even if the initial comment is not Lashon Hara per se.

 

This is a rabbinical prohibition.

 

2) Even if the Lashon Hara item that was ultimately related would have been said anyway, even without the provocation of the “Avak Lashon Hara” in question, it is still forbidden to say it.

 

Surely, if the Avak Lashon Hara is the sole reason that led others to “pick up where you left off” and turn it into actual forbidden speech, it is prohibited.

 

 

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1)  Many times, one who utters “Avak Lashon Hara” which leads to actual Lashon Hara being spoken by others, will also transgress the biblical transgression of “Lifnei Iver Lo Siten Michshol” the prohibition to put a stumbling block in front of another Jew, i.e. the prohibition to cause another Jew to sin.

 

2) Even though rabbinical prohibitions must be taken just as seriously as biblical transgressions, some people, unfortunately, do not grasp their severity and are lax with rabbinical edicts and laws. (This is a lengthy topic in its own right, that perhaps we will one day delve into.)

 

Thus, when it comes to Avak Lashon Hara, which is rabbinical in nature, it is important to keep in mind that besides for its own severity as a rabbinically enacted sin, very often, being lax with Avak Lashon Hara will lead to actual Biblical sins, such as Lifnei Iver, actual Lashon Hara as the conversation evolves, On'as Devarim, Malbin Penei Chaveiro and other biblical sins R”L.

 

 

Halachos for Sunday May 30, 2021

 

1) It is forbidden to say about someone “Who would have thought that he would turn out the way he is now”.

 

Such a statement is deemed Avak Lashon Hara.

 

2) It is forbidden to say “I do not want to tell you what transpired with so-and-so”.

 

This too is deemed Avak Lashon Hara.

 

The reason is, that these type of statements almost inevitably lead to someone picking up on the cue and turning the conversation into full blown Lashon Hara.

 

 

Halachos for Monday May 31, 2021

 

1) Speaking Lashon Hara via hints or via gestures, nods and the like is no different than overtly speaking Lashon Hara.  Doing so is not Avak Lashon Hara; it is regular, biblically prohibited Lashon Hara, as you are relating something that is forbidden to be related, and happen to be doing it via a method that is less explicit.

 

2) If someone asks you information about someone , you may not say “Sorry, I do not want to speak Lashon Hara about him”, as saying that will still be considered Lashon Hara, as this response clearly conveys that there is something negative to relate.

 

Doing so is not Avak Lashon Hara; it is regular, biblically prohibited Lashon Hara.

 

Halachos for Tuesday June 1, 2021

 

1) It is prohibited (due to Avak Lashon Hara)  to overly praise someone, as doing so will invariably lead someone who is listening to the praise (or the speaker himself) to interject with something negative (Actual Lashon Hara) about the one being praised.

 

2) Sadly, it is human nature (usually due to insecurity, lack of self-confidence and self-respect or due to jealousy, guilt, animosity or other negative traits) that when people hear too much good about others, it lead them to “remind” those listening that the one being spoken about isn’t all that good; he has negative aspects too. They mistakenly think that putting someone down will make themselves rise higher. Nothing could be further from the truth; the only way to truly rise, is by lifting others up.

 

Yes, our job, as Torah observant Yidden, is to work on ourselves and to change our nature and perfect our character to uproot negative tendencies, but we still have to assume that not everyone around us (nor ourselves)  has properly done so, and thus hearing (or speaking) too much praise about someone, will lead to them (or to the speaker himself) needing to “dampen it” with a dose of negativity.

 

Halachos for Wednesday, June 2, 2021

 

1)  We mentioned yesterday that it is forbidden to shower someone with too much praise lest it lead the conversation to also focus on the negative aspects of the one being spoken about.

 

2)  In certain cases, it would be forbidden to praise the person even a little bit.

 

For example, if by saying a certain praise about an individual, it will be plainly evident that he is lacking in other areas and thus convey negativity about him, it is forbidden to relate even a little of that praise about him in the first place.

 

Halachos for Thursday, June 3, 2021

 

1) It is prohibited to praise an individual in the presence of someone who dislikes him, as it will inevitably lead to that person saying something negative to dampen the praise.

 

2) Furthermore, when a speaker is speaking in front of a large crowd, he must refrain from praising individuals, as even though he doesn’t know that anyone in the crowd may dislike the person being praised, still, such praise will usually lead to someone in the crowd finding something negative to say to dampen the praise.

 

When speaking in public, if the speaker is familiar with the audience, and is confident that nobody in the crowd will speak negatively of the one he is praising, it is permitted, but even then, the praise should not be overdone.

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, June 4, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) If the person being praised is a well-known and respected person with a reputation for being a righteous person, and indeed he is a person of pristine stature, it is permitted to praise him without limitations.

 

2) This may be done even in front of a large audience, and even in the presence of someone who dislikes him.

 

The reason for this is that even if someone will try to relate something negative about this well respected individual, the people hearing it will not believe it, and thus it will not be deemed harmful to the righteous person’s reputation.

 

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) It is advisable to refrain from sitting amongst a group of people who are just engaging in idle chatter, even if they are initially relating “praises” about Rabbonim and Tzadikim, as it is all but impossible for a group of people just sitting and idly chatting to not end up speaking Lashon Hara. (In general, it is best to avoid people who are always talking about other people, rather than speaking about worthwhile and beneficial things, ideas, thoughts etc.)

 

2) Furthermore, if they end up speaking Lashon Hara about the very Rabbonim and Tzadikim they were initially praising, it is deemed very harsh Lashon Hara, as Hashem is very strict with people who disparage Talmidei Chachamim and affront their honor in any way R”L.

 

 

 

Halachos for Sunday June 6, 2021

 

1)The prohibition to speak Lashon Hara does not only apply to speaking negatively about an individual; it also applies to speaking negatively about a group.

 

Thus, it is prohibited to say something negative about people from a specific city or community, the crowd in a certain Shul, the lifestyle of a particular faction of Yidden, and the like.

 

2) Lashon Hara is prohibited regardless if the one being spoken about is a male or female, child or adult, a random person or a friend, a spouse or a distant relative, a Talmid Chacham or an unlearned person.

 

Halachos for Monday June 7, 2021

 

1) It is prohibited to speak Lashon Hara, even if what you are relating is 100% true and accurate.

 

If the item being related is totally not true, or only partly true, or even just sprinkled with untruths, bending of the truth, false embellishments and the like to make the gossip juicier, that would be Motzi Shem Ra, an even greater sin, in addition to the sin of Lashon Hara.

 

2) The prohibition to relate Lashon Hara that you know is 100% true, exists even if you witnessed it with your own eyes, and there is no question in your mind as to what you saw; it is still prohibited to relate.

 

Halachos for Tuesday June 8, 2021

 

1) Even if the one you are relating the Lashon Hara to already heard it from someone else, it is still prohibited to relate it to him and cause him to hear it again, despite there being no new information that you are relating.

 

2) Even if the one the Lashon Hara was spoken about (Reuven) was already embarrassed by what was related about him to someone (Shimon), it is still prohibited to relate the incident again to him(Shimon), even if won’t lead to additional embarrassment.

 

Halachos for Wednesday, June 9, 2021

 

1) Making a statement that can be interpreted two ways, one as a praiseworthy comment and one as a negative comment, if it is evident from the manner in which it is being recounted that the intention is to be disparaging, it is prohibited.

2) For example, if one states that “in that home they are always cooking”, it can be understood that there is constant frivolous partying going on in that home, which is a negative, and it may not be related, or it can be understood that the home is an open home, always busy with Hachnosas Orchim and other Mitzvos, which is a positive, and may be related.

 

Before making any statements, it is imperative to make sure nothing negative is meant by it, and nothing negative can be understood from what you say.

 

[Good Rule of Thumb: Think before speaking and determine if what is about to be uttered is beneficial or harmful. Think if you would want someone else to utter such a thing about you.]

 

Halachos for Thursday, June 10, 2021

 

1) Of course, relating something derogatory about a fellow Jew to another person is prohibited. This includes relating something negative about the way someone’s parents or relatives behaved, or about a person’s own past life, now that he is no longer behaving in his old ways.

 

This applies to all kinds of past sinful behavior, both between man and Hashem, and between man and his fellow man.

 

2) Moreover, even if it is not being related to another person, it is still prohibited to humiliate an otherwise-God-fearing-Jew who is observed doing something sinful (here, referring to a sin between man and Hashem), even if there is nobody else present to witness the humiliation other than the individual himself and the one humiliating him. (There are exceptions to this rule, as it pertains to sins between man and his fellow man, as well as it pertains to constructive criticism, and other criteria. We will discuss these exceptions as we progress in this topic B’Ezras Hashem.)

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, June 11, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) Relating something that is not in and of itself derogatory, yet saying it will lead to causing embarrassment or harm to a fellow Jew, is prohibited and deemed Lashon Hara.

 

2) Even if one is not speaking directly about another person, if something he relates (even if it is not about another person)  can lead to another person being damaged or degraded (and the speaker does it in this roundabout way, with the intention of it leading to the other person being hurt or degraded) this too is Lashon Hara and prohibited. (Chazal refer to this as Lashon Hara B’Tzina, discreet Lashon Hara)

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) Even if one relates a negative item about a fellow Jew which does not cause him any damage or embarrassment, e.g. the people listening did not accept what is being said and don’t believe it at all, it is still deemed Lashon Hara and is prohibited.

 

2) Furthermore, even if from the outset, the person relating the negative information knows that the people he is speaking to will not accept or believe what he is telling them, and thus there never was a chance that harm would befall the subject he is talking about, it is still deemed Lashon Hara and is prohibited, as the Torah prohibits speaking disparagingly about a fellow Jew, irrespective if it will actually cause someone harm or not

 

 

 

Halachos for Sunday June 13, 2021

 

1) If one relates a story about himself and another person, and it will thus result in negative information being shared about both of them (the speaker and his friend who was part of the story being related) it is still prohibited, despite his including himself in doing something derogatory.

 

This is the case even if he first relates the derogatory information about himself, and only then adds the information about his accomplice.

 

This is still prohibited, even if his entire intention is to relate the derogatory information about himself, and the information that comes to light about his friend is not his intention at all.

 

2) Although this is deemed Lashon Hara and it may not be spoken, the ones listening to this particular story may believe the negative story about the one relating it, so long as they do not believe the part about the other individual in the story.

 

 

Halachos for Monday June 14, 2021

 

1) Even if the one relating a story does not intend to embarrass the person he is talking about, it is still prohibited to relate the embarrassing incident.

 

2) Furthermore, even if the one relating the incident knows that the person he is telling it to respects the person who it is about, and this respect will not be diminished by hearing this particular story, it is still forbidden to relate it.



The reason for this is that since if it were to be related in the presence of the one it is about, it would cause him embarrassment or hurt him, thus it is forbidden to say it even not in his presence, as the story is intrinsically negative, and we are concerned that if told it will get publicized further and cause harm.

 

 

Halachos for Tuesday June 15, 2021

 

1) Even if the person about whom the Lashon Hara is being spoken does not care if it is told, it is still prohibited, as even if it not deemed 100% Lashon Hara, it is still not deemed 100% permitted speech either.

 

2) In general, even if someone says that he/she doesn’t care if you relate something about them, or even if it is being related “amongst friends or family” where the intentions are not to harm the one that it is about, still we can never know a person’s true feelings, and thus even if they say that they don’t care, or even if they seem to not care (e.g. they are smiling, participating in telling the story about themselves etc.) it is very likely that in reality they do care, and thus it will be Lashon Hara.

 

 

Halachos for Wednesday, June 16, 2021

 

1) It is prohibited to denigrate and talk disparagingly about a person even after he/she passes away.

 

2) There is a “Cherem Kadmonin” , an ancient rabbinic condemnation leveled against one who speaks negatively about the deceased, and it is recommended to be careful with this at all costs. (See commentary of the Mordechai beginning of 8th Perek of Bava Kama. See also Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 606:3)

 

This applies regarding any deceased people, even if they were not Torah scholars, and all the more so about a Torah scholar. Furthermore, it also applies to disparaging the Divrei Torah of a Talmid Chacham who has passed from this world.

 

Halachos for Thursday, June 17, 2021

 

1) Relating Lashon Hara about ones sibling, in the presence of their father, mother or another mutual relative, is also deemed Lashon Hara and is prohibited.

 

2) Even if the purpose of relating this incident is so that the parent or relative should rebuke or chastise the sibling, it is still prohibited, as he himself (the one relating the story) should have rebuked the sibling first, and not immediately passed the buck to their parent.

 

However, if the one relating the incident truly feels that his own rebuke would not be effective, and that the parent or other relative’s rebuke will indeed be effective, in that case, it is indeed permitted to relate to them whatever is necessary for them to know to properly give rebuke.

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, June 18, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1)  The prohibition to speak Lashon Hara applies even if the intention of the one relating it is not out of hatred, and not with intent to harm or embarrass the one that it is about, and even if he would relate this incident in the presence of the one it is about.

 

2) Even lashon Hara related in jest, and in a humorous or light-headed (S’chok V’Kalus Rosh) fashion , is forbidden.

 

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) Lashon Hara is strictly forbidden, even if related matter-of-factly, and even if one only speaks it occasionally; still there is Heavenly retribution for any utterance of Lashon Hara.

 

2) One who habitually speaks Lashon Hara is deemed a “Ba’al Lashon Hara” and his/her heavenly punishment is even more harsh than one who only occasionally speaks Lashon Hara. This is not only due to the fact that he has a larger quantity of Lashon Hara sins, but also due to the fact that his mouth becomes “hefker” (i.e. he is deemed negligent in his Torah observance, and this lack of Yiras Shomayim, puts him in a precarious spiritual category)  and thus every forbidden utterance of his is an enlarged sin, and thus deserving of enlarged Heavenly retribution, R"L.

 

 

 

 

Halachos for Sunday June 20, 2021

 

1) Even if one relates a negative incident about someone without specifically mentioning his/her name, it is still forbidden, so long as the people listening to what is being related can figure out about whom he is speaking.

 

2) Just as it is prohibited to “speak” Lashon Hara about a fellow Jew, so too it is equally forbidden to “write” Lashon Hara about them.

 

Unfortunately, with the advent of technology, it has become so much easier and more prevalent to relate, read, accept and spread Lashon Hara about people, via email, text message, WhatsApp groups and the like, and this has had terrible and frightening consequences for individuals, families, businesses, communities and for Klal Yisroel at large.

 

Each and every Yid must be vigilant to avoid having any part in this spread of Lashon Hara at all costs.

 

It may take just a second or two to click and share a seemingly harmless story, text, meme or message, but that can set off a chain reaction and literally within minutes it can reach thousands of people and seriously harm or destroy a person’s life, reputation, business, Shalom Bayis etc. 

 

This is not something to be flippant about; it is crucial to think twice (or 100 times) before reading and believing something received via digital transmission, and surely, we must think deep, hard and honestly, before sharing something that we receive, to make sure it is 100% OK to share. Once it is shared, it is all but impossible to "un-share", and it takes on a life of its own and gets around the world.

 

This is a serious concern, and should not be treated lightly or dismissed as “Oh, it’s only a harmless meme…” or by thinking “ Everyone is doing it” or assuming that since it’s already out there, there is no harm in broadcasting it further; nothing can be further from the truth.

 

May Hashem give us all the strength to overcome this strong 21st century Yetzer Hara, and help us all use technology responsibly and without sin R”L.

 

 

Halachos for Monday June 21, 2021

 

1) Just as Lashon Hara may not be “spoken” or “written”, so too it may not be gestured, via hand motions, or winks, eye-rolls, chuckles and the like.

 

Any action that results in Lashon Hara being understood by others, is prohibited.

 

2) Even showing someone a letter from another person, where something negative about the writer will be evident by reading it, is prohibited.

 

 

Halachos for Tuesday June 22, 2021

 

1)  If an individual is relating something that is Lashon Hara and another person standing nearby hears it and verbally agrees with the one who is relating it, that agreement is tantamount to actually relating the prohibited speech, and both people are liable for this forbidden speech.

 

2) Even if a person’s father, Rebbi, or another person of authority, implores him to relate Lashon Hara, he may not listen to them.

 

Even if they only ask of him to relate a story which can then be understood as lashon Hara, and even if they plead with him to say something that is only Avak Lashon Hara, he must not listen to them, as it is forbidden.

 

This is the case even if by not acquiescing to their pleas, they will be upset, or even angry at him for his refusal to listen to them.

 

 

Halachos for Wednesday, June 23, 2021

 

1) Even if one's livelihood will be in jeopardy by refusing to speak Lashon Hara (e.g. one who is employed by a person who is not a Shomer Torah U’Mitzvos, and will deem him a fool if he doesn’t ‘join the crowd’ in forbidden speech, ridiculing of co-workers and the like, and will thus fire him) he is still absolutely forbidden to bend any of the rules of Lashon Hara by speaking, participating or even listening to forbidden speech.

 

2) Of course, if the only thing at stake by not participating in any Lashon Hara activities in the workplace is a person’s reputation, honor, social standing and the like, but it won’t affect his livelihood, surely it is forbidden.

 

 

Halachos for Thursday, June 24, 2021

 

1) Just as it is prohibited for a person, on his own, to relate a derogatory story about another fellow Jew, so too it is prohibited for two people to relate a derogatory story together. 

 

In fact, by virtue of the fact that two people are both “agreeing” to the derogatory information being related, it actually makes the Lashon Hara worse, as it will strengthen the validity of what is being told, and cause those listening to believe it with more force, and lead them to have a stronger negative opinion about the subject of the story.

 

2) Likewise, just as it is forbidden to relate Lashon Hara even to one listener, it is also forbidden to relate to a group, and the more people listening, the greater the sin being transgressed by the one speaking.

 

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh, June 25, 2021

Double Portion L'Kavod Shabbos Kodesh

 

Halachos for Erev Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) The prohibition to relate Lashon Hara is in full effect even if the one it is being related to is a very close relative, including one’s spouse.

 

2) Many people mistakenly believe that it is OK to share negative details about what transpired in Shul, at work or other things that happened to them during the day, with their spouse.

 

Nothing can be further from the truth. Not only is this 100% Lashon Hara and forbidden, it is also unwise as sharing such negative details with a spouse often leads to machlokes, the spouse harboring feelings of animosity toward them, and other sins. (Of course, there are certain exceptions to this rule, where relating something to a spouse can be deemed L’Toeles, for a permitted and necessary purpose. We shall B’Ezras Hashem discuss the criteria of L’Toeles as we progress in this topic.)

 

The aforementioned Halachos also apply to business partners; there is no blanket allowance for them to share negative information with one another, unless deemed necessary according to Halacha.

 

 

Halachos for Shabbos Kodesh

 

1) The prohibition to relate Lashon Hara is not only when being related to a fellow Jew, as it is surely prohibited to relate Lashon Hara about a fellow Jew to an Aino Yehudi.

 

2) This is the case, even more so, when what is being related to the Aino Yehudi is deemed “Mesirah”, informing the actions of a fellow Jew to an Aino Yehudi authority, who will then cause harm or other problems for the Jew.

 

One who is Moser on a fellow Jew has transgressed a grave sin of Chilul Hashem, and is also deemed an Apikores, a heretic, and is treated as one who denies the entire Torah and does not believe in Techiyas Hameisim, and his punishment in Gehinom is eternal R”L. (See Talmud Rosh Hashana 17a)