Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Guarding Your Speech

It is quite common for people to slander a worker or employer who failed to fulfill his commitments. These people figure that this type of slander must be a mitzvah to help others avoid a business connection with a person who does not fulfill his obligations. Yet the Chofetz Chaim did not think this was a simple matter at all.
He said, “One must be very vigilant not to give himself license to recount to others how when he did business with so-and-so, the person robbed or cheated him, or publicly shamed him. Even though he knows that he is telling only the absolute truth, he cannot do it unless he needs assistance catching the thief to retrieve his stolen property.
“Clearly he is not telling this story to others to protect them from being cheated or stolen from. His motivation stems from a desire to embarrass the person who did him wrong. The more this person’s words are accepted by others, the happier he will be. The reason why this is prohibited is because one can only tell another lashon hara to benefit the hearer if he is not doing it out of hatred or spite.”
The Chofetz Chaim continued on this topic, “One must be exceedingly careful even when asking others to help him apprehend the thief, since if he does not take great care he will easily stumble on this heter into the trap of his yetzer hara and transgress the Torah prohibition of lashon hara.
“In addition, he must be absolutely sure that he was robbed and that his friend is certainly not entitled to what he took. This detail is exceedingly difficult to verify since no person sees his own faults. But if he is mistaken and then goes around to others ostensibly for aid to apprehend a thief, he is actually violating the prohibition of motzi shem ra!”

1 comment:

Izbitza said...

it has nothing to do with this post, but I'm having some trouble learning likutei halachos nidah 1- I thought maybe you could help...
you can reply to my regular account