SEFER CHOFETZ CHAIM
When sincerely praising an individual’s generosity in the presence of others, one should not do so in a way that may cause his family or business partner to be upset with him for having been charitable at their expense. Acknowledging a major donation in the presence of the donor’s spouse or offspring may arouse feelings on his or her part that the family’s money is being mishandled. If the recipient had good intentions only, he would be guilty of speaking avak rechilus.
SEFER SHMIRAS HALOSHON
Loser of Two Worlds
A scoffer is liable to suffer retribution in this world for his sinful behavior. As the Talmud states (Avodah Zara 18b): “Whoever scoffs will have affliction visited upon him, as it is written, ‘And now, do not scoff, lest your retribution intensify’ (Yeshayahu 28:22). Said Rava to the rabbis, ‘I ask you not to engage in scoffing, so that affliction not come upon you.’ ” The Talmud further states (ibid.) that scoffing causes one to be denied his material needs.
Scoffers bring punishment upon the entire world, as the Talmud (ibid.) states, “Whoever scoffs brings about destruction in the world.’’ It is forbidden even to sit in the company of scoffers, as it is written, “Praiseworthy is the man … that sat not in the company of scoffers” (Tehillim 1:1).
The Vilna Gaon writes in his famous letter:
To the verse, “All man’s toil is for his mouth” (Koheles 6:6), the Sages comment (Midrash Koheles ibid.) that all the mitzvos and Torah study of a person are not sufficient to negate that which he utters [sinfully] with his mouth. They further state: “Which craft should man pursue in this world? He should strive to emulate a mute [and avoid evil talk] (Chullin 89a), and press his lips together like two millstones [which grind against one another]”.
Therefore, one must distance oneself from scoffers so that he will not learn from their ways; rather, he should sit where Torah is being spoken. Praiseworthy will he be, in this world and in the World to Come.