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The Laws #15

Damaging One's Reputation

The definition of lashon hara is words that hurt, words that damage. Included in that is damaging a person’s reputation in any which way. So for instance, let’s say I tell you so-and-so has quite a temper or I tell you he’s lazy or I tell you, you know, he’s a pretty stingy kind of guy, obviously that damages his reputation, it damages his standing. Even though it may be true and even though it could be he has a fierce temper and he’s very stingy and he’s really nasty or whatever it may be, when I tell that over to you what I’m doing is I’m damaging that person’s reputation, I’m damaging his standing, and that’s fully in the category of lashon hara.

If in fact I’m concerned about that person’s betterment, maybe I should go over to him and tell him not to have such a temper, but any degradation of the person, anything that puts him in a lower standing in peoples’ eyes is included in lashon hara. And included in that obviously is to say a person has bad middos, a person has weak character trait. That would be fully in the category of lashon hara and is fully forbidden.

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