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GENESIS — 2:7 living

GEN245 Someone who only speaks loshon hora [evil speech] occasionally is guilty of a serious sin.  But those who habitually gossip about the faults of others are guilty of a much graver sin, since they contemptuously and repeatedly disregard one of God’s commandments.  Habitual offenders can often be found sitting around making disparaging remarks about others: “Reuven is a good-for-nothing, just the other day he…” “Don’t think that Leah is so special; she comes from a family that…” “Do you know what I just heard about Shimon?”  Our Sages have labeled these people baalai loshon hora (habitual speakers of loshon hara).  The Talmud Erchin 15b states that someone who constantly speaks loshon hara commits sins greater than idolatry, adultery, and murder.  The enormity of constantly speaking evil of others is such that a baal loshon hora loses his share in olam haboh (the world to come) unless he does tshuvah (repentance) Jerusalem Talmud Pe’ah 1:1.  The invention of the telephone has made it possible for someone to become a baal loshon hara in the very comfort of his own home, without expending excessive energy.  Beware of loshon hora when speaking on the telephone.  If the person with whom you are conversing insists on relating loshon hora, you should rebuke him.  If this is not possible, find an excuse to hang up – “Excuse me, something has just come up,” (the loshon hara) – and discontinue the conversation.  PGYT 31-32.


GENESIS — 37:2 reports

GEN1442 You are forbidden to relate loshon hora to someone about his parents, brothers, sisters, children, or any other relative.   Even if your sole intention is relating the derogatory information is that the listener reprimand his relative, it is forbidden.   If, however, you have already rebuked the person yourself and your efforts to correct him have failed, or if you are unable to rebuke him yourself, this restriction would not apply.   … Yosef related derogatory information about his brothers to their father Yaakov in order that Yaakov should admonish them [this verse]. Nevertheless, Yosef was punished.   Before he spoke to his father about his brothers, he should have admonished them himself.  GUARD 105


LEVITICUS — 19:12 hate

LEV348 "You shall not hate your brother in your heart" if you act in a friendly manner toward someone in his presence but speak against him behind his back, you violate this prohibition. This prohibition refers only to concealed hatred (Sifra). When you openly tell someone about your dislike for him, you do not transgress this prohibition but are guilty of not fulfilling the mitzvah of loving a fellow Jew.


LEVITICUS — 19:14 stumbling block

LEV411 "Before the blind do not put a stumbling block" This verse prohibits us from placing a spiritual stumbling-block in the path of others. If someone causes another to sin, he violates this prohibition (Rambam, Sefer Hamitzvos, Prohibition 298; Smag [Sefer Mitzvos Hagodol - AJL], Prohibition 168). By speaking or listening to loshon hora, you not only sin yourself, but also cause others to transgress.


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