A Cloak of Invisibility

Imagine that I discover a cloak of invisibility. When I put it on, I disappear from sight, “This is amazing!” I say. “No one can see me!”

So I go into the bais medrash, and when a guy is looking the other way, I take away his sefer. He turns back and it’s gone. “What?” he exclaims.

Another guy walks by, and I turn his sefer upside down. “Hey! What happened?”

I start opening and closing sefarim all over the place. And, I’m having a grand old time.

Then I decide to step it up a little bit. As a fellow is walking by, I stick my foot out and he trips.  As another guy walks by, I punch him. Another guy walks by, and I kick him. Woo hoo, this is great. I’m having a jolly time!

But it’s no longer funny because bodies are falling, and people are getting hurt. This is the precise description that the Torah gives for a person who speaks lashon hara.”מכה רעהו בסתר,” hitting your friend in secret.

The Chofetz Chaim explains that when I’m speaking about you, why am I doing it? Because you’re not here. The quickest cure for lashon hara is when the person you’re speaking about shows up, and all of a sudden, everyone becomes very quiet.

“מכה רעהו בסתר,” means I’m hitting my friend in secret because I feel hidden. I feel like I’m wearing my invisibility cloak. I see that he doesn’t see or hear me, so I say whatever I want. If he were here, I would stop.

The Torah demands that we respect each other’s honor, consider their pain, and be sensitive to the esteem of another Jew.

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