Please Learn in the Merit of:

Please learn for the merit of a complete recovery for the following individuals:

Ya'akov Don ben Esther Ahuvah Sharona
Avraham Yishayahu ben Aviva
Perel Leah bas Sima

Please learn in the merit/memory of Eyal ben Uriel, Gil-Ad Michael ben Ophir, Ya'akov Naftali ben Avraham, and Alter Aryeh Leib Reuven ben Sima

Monday, December 11, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon כ"בּ כּסלו - Kislev 22 - Eighty-Second Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

[Though it is forbidden to speak concerning any individual, except out of necessity], how much more so should a person refrain from speaking to a storekeeper about [other] storekeepers, or [should refrain from speaking] with a professional about another professional in the same field, for, generally, a professional does not love those who work in his field, and [such a discussion with him] will very likely result in Lashon HaRa. All the more so, [the individual] should definitely refrain from speaking with that person if he knows that [the person to whom he is speaking] bears hatred [against the individual intended to be raised in the conversation]. It makes no difference and is [still] definitely forbidden [even] to praise [such an individual] before [the person who hates him. This follows that which] our Sages of Blessed Memory have said [in maseches Arachin (16a)]: “A person should never speak of the praises of his fellow, for as a result of the praises [lavished upon his fellow, people will] come [to speak of] shameful [matters against the person who is the target of the praise].”[1] I have explained this entire [matter] in sefer “Chofetz Chaim”, in volume 1, Klal 9, see over there. [Even if he were to speak] any words [about a given individual], neither in the category of shame or praise, [when speaking with the person who bears hatred against that individual], it is very fitting for him to be careful to not speak with [that person] about [the person against whom he is antagonistic], for due to the hatred that he bears in his heart against [that individual, he] will drag [the conversation] from one topic to another topic which would be appropriate for him [use] as a means [with which] to shoot the arrows of his tongue [at the person that he hates].

If [one, for some reason], needs to talk with [the aforementioned antagonistic individual] concerning a matter of necessity, he should shorten the amount of time that he stands with him [involved] in this [conversation]. For, [if he would not shorten the discussion as much as possible], he will thereby definitely, come [to be involved in] Lashon HaRa. [This situation resembles] the gunpowder which gives off the scent of fire [when ignited], it being impossible that this [igniting of the gunpowder] will not result in a flare [of fire].[2]

[1] The passage from the gemara in maseches Arachin, states as follows:

“Rav Dimi, the brother of Rav Safra, taught, “A person should never speak about the good of his friend, for due to speaking about the good [aspects] of his friend, he will come [to speak of] the negative [of his friend].” There are those who say [the incident occurred as follows]: Rav Dimi the brother of Rav Safra was sick. Rav Safra came to visit him. [Rav Dimi] said to him, ‘Come down to me, for I fulfilled all of the Rabbinic laws. [Rav Safra] said to him, “Did you ever follow [the teaching] that a person shouldn’t speak of the good [aspects] of his fellow, for as a result of speaking about that which is good about him, [people] come to speak shamefully against him.” [Rav Dimi] said [to Rav Safra], “I didn’t hear of this, but if I would have heard of it, I would have fulfilled it.””

RaSh”I comments on this gemara that, due to praising the individual, either the person who is praising the individual will say, “This person has only good qualities, with the exception of this bad quality”, or other people will point out something negative about the person being praised – “Doesn’t he have such-and-such negative qualities?”

Thus, a person should be careful to avoid praising someone in a way that may lead to others disparaging him.

[2] The analogy of igniting gunpowder teaches of the caution one must take when speaking with someone who bears a grudge against his fellow. The person should not prolong the conversation with this individual who bears hatred against his fellow, and should limit the conversation to only that which is essential. Otherwise, he may arrive at a situation where the other person begins speaking Lashon HaRa against his fellow. Once gunpowder is lit, it will flare up, so too, once the other person has an opportunity to turn the conversation against the one whom he hates, Lashon HaRa will inevitably follow, chas v’shalom.

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