Past Misdeeds

SEFER CHOFETZ CHAIMLaws of Loshon Hora 2:9 – 10

If you have ever been present while a group of people discuss someone in depth, you have probably observed the great human impulse toward amateur psychoanalysis. Such discussions usually include not only the subject’s faults and problems, but also an extended analysis of his parents and friends and how they impacted on his personality. When the group is intent on guaranteeing that their “armchair analysis” is complete, they make sure to carefully analyze every member of the subject’s immediate family.

To spare every Jew the “benefit” of such unsolicited analysis, the Torah forbids us to discuss past faults or transgressions of a person or his family.

Generally, there are two variations of this kind of loshon hora. One is clearly derogatory:

“Did you know her mother? I knew her mother. If you knew her mother then you would understand everything about her!”

The other example is what’s commonly called “a backhanded compliment:”

“Look how far she’s come in straightening out her life!”

Even if the person’s less-than-admirable past is widely known, it is forbidden to allude to it if it is degrading to the person. Emphasizing that the person has come “a long way” in his mitzvah observance does not make this permissible, nor does the fact that your intention is to compliment him.

In forthcoming segments, we will discuss what to do when shidduch (suggested marriage match) information is needed. Generally speaking, however, negative information about parents or family should not be reported unless it could have a direct bearing on the party’s marriage (such as health or emotional stability).

The Torah judges statements concerning one’s past according to the impact they will have upon the listener. In the above cases, past information will cause people to lower their opinion of the subject. Often, this is all that is needed to tip the balance against a prospective shidduch or job application. In the Torah’s view, this would be unfortunate and unnecessary. Just as Hashem judges each of us according to our present level, and He does not hold us accountable for our ancestors’ or our own past misdeeds (assuming we have repented), so too, are we expected to evaluate our fellow Jew according to his present level.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

Become a daily email sponsor and help us provide thousands with easy access to the Torah’s inspiration. As a merit for a departed loved one, or for a recovery from illness, your sponsorship will go a long way toward bringing people the most effective tool for dealing with life’s troubles. Your dedication will reach over 8,000 recipients per day. Just email back the date and dedication you would like printed, along with your contact information to es@chofetzchaimusa.org

ABOUT THE CHOFETZ CHAIM HERITAGE FOUNDATION

Since 1989, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation has successfully launched innovative methods of promoting the Torah’s wisdom on human relations and personal development. The foundation utilizes a vast array of effective communication tools including books, tapes, video seminars, telephone classes and a newsletter, designed to heighten one’s awareness of such essential values as judging others favorably, speaking with restraint and integrity, and acting with sensitivity and respect. The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s programs reassert the Torah’s timeless recipe for building a world of compassion and harmony. The following opportunities for learning and personal growth are available through their offices.

A daily lesson from the Chofetz Chaim: A Daily Companion/Mesorah Publications.

  • To subscribe or unsubscribe: e-mail dcompanion@chofetzchaimusa.org with subject subscribe/unsubscribe.
  • To order tapes, books, learning programs and free catalog call: 866-593-8399.
  • Please treat printed version with the respect due Torah materials.

Taken from my Dcompanion Email Subscription
Rabbi Chofetz Chaim
Chofetz Chaim
Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Advertisements
This entry was posted in Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation, Judaism, Laws of Loshon Hora, Loshon Hora, Rabbi Israel Meir HaCohen Kagan, SEFER CHOFETZ CHAIM, Shmiras Haloshon Yomi, The Chofetz Chaim, Torah. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s