Shmiras Haloshon Yomi – Learning the Laws of Proper Speech – 20 Av, 5769
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Shmiras Haloshon Yomi
20 Av, 5769
Day 79 – Subjective Listening
SEFER CHOFETZ CHAIM – Laws of Loshon Hora 10:4
In the previous segment, we learned that it is forbidden for a person to expose someone’s faults if he himself is guilty of the same. In this segment, we learn that it is forbidden to expose a sin, even for a constructive purpose, to people who often commit the same sin and do not see anything wrong with it. The reason for this is obvious. Their sympathy will most likely rest with the wrongdoer, and in fact, they may report what was said to the subject of the criticism and thereby be guilty of rechilus (gossipmongering). This could lead to a full-scale feud and even to one Jew informing on another, if the people are of low morals.
The Chofetz Chaim also focuses on a situation where someone rushes to the aid of a close relative. For example: Your brother tells you that someone wronged him in business and he wants your help in getting back his money. The fact that he is your brother does not change the laws of shmiras haloshon. If the seven requirements of toeles (constructive speech) have been fulfilled, then you can speak on behalf of anyone. If the seven requirements are not fulfilled, then even if your father asks you to enter the fray, you are forbidden to get involved.
And this, the Chofetz Chaim says, is where many people stumble. If they hear that a family member is involved in a dispute, they rush to his defense without verifying the truth of the claims or the situation. They immediately “declare war,” thinking that this is a mitzvah.
In giving us these guidelines, the Chofetz Chaim identifies the origin of many disputes:
1. Someone takes a side in an argument without questioning it, usually out of loyalty to a close friend or family member.
2. His anger is fueled by indignation that the friend or family member was wronged.
3. He fails to fulfill the conditions of loshon hora l’toeles.
Following the laws of toeles faithfully will eliminate unnecessary disputes and the baseless hatred which is their natural byproduct.
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