SEFER CHOFETZ CHAIM — Laws of Loshon Hora 7:9
The concept in halachah of Mesiach L’fi Tumo accords a casual remark made in conversation the status of testimony in beis din (rabbinical court). The classic case where this rule is applied is when a man goes overseas and does not return and someone casually mentions that he saw the man’s dead body. In certain specific situations, such remarks may be used to allow the missing man’s wife to remarry. The reasoning is that since the speaker apparently had no motive in mind when making the remark, we therefore assume that it is true.
However, in reference to accepting loshon hora, the Chofetz Chaim states that this halachic principle carries no weight. If in the course of conversation someone innocently mentions some negative information, we are not permitted to believe it. If the speaker mentions a situation in which someone is seen in an unfavorable light, we are required to seek a different understanding of what may have happened, thereby judging the person favorably. In general, whenever we glean negative information from someone’s innocent comments, we are required to disregard it.
The Talmud (Bava Metzia 58b) tells us that it is worse to insult someone than to hurt him financially. The Talmud explains: “This (hurtful words) affects his very self, whereas this (monetary wrongdoing) affects only his money”; “with this (monetary wrongdoing) restitution is possible, but with this (hurtful words), restitution is not possible.”
The halachah does not use the principle of Mesiach L’fi Tumo to award someone a monetary claim based on a casual remark. It follows, then, that using such comments as the grounds for insulting someone would be all the more forbidden.
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.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|
|Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation|