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Burst of Inspiration

#8 – Don’t Oppress

There are many times when a person says, “This isn’t lashon hara because even if the person were here I would still say it in front of him.” The Chafetz Chaim explains that if you would say it when he is in front of you, that doesn’t mean it’s not lashon hara. Likely it is still lashon hara, but additionally you would violate another lav called “לֹא תוֹנוּ אִישׁ אֶת עֲמִיתוֹ”, do not oppress a person in your nation.

There is a specific lo sa’aseh that I’m not allowed to cause you pain that you can’t defend yourself against. If I know certain facts about you, if I know certain things and you have no way of getting out of it and I oppress you with those words, I violate a lo sa’aseh of “לֹא תוֹנוּ אִישׁ אֶת עֲמִיתוֹ”.

Oftentimes, even if it’s just you and I and maybe one other person and sometimes even if it’s just you and I alone I can violate this lo sa’aseh of “לֹא תוֹנוּ אִישׁ אֶת עֲמִיתוֹ”. If I remind you about a certain event, if I remind you about a certain thing,  if I mention that your family has a certain bad reputation. If I say it with the ill will and I say it to inflict harm upon you, it’s “לֹא תוֹנוּ אִישׁ אֶת עֲמִיתוֹ”. Certainly if I’m in public and I tell a story about you, you did this and this, you did that, you did this, obviously it’s lashon hara, because it’s defaming, it’s causing you harm. Additionally oftentimes I violate “לֹא תוֹנוּ אִישׁ אֶת עֲמִיתוֹ”, do not oppress your friend. Because you can’t defend yourself there in public, you can’t undo it, so not only did I violate “לֹא תֵלֵךְ רָכִיל בְּעַמֶּיךָ”, additionally I violated the lav of “לֹא תוֹנוּ אִישׁ אֶת עֲמִיתוֹ”, do not oppress a person in your nation.

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