Lashon hara is a full lo sa’aseh in the Torah. If I tell over words that hurt, words that damage, I violate a lo sa’aseh. Because of that, explains the Chafetz Chaim there are many very real ramifications to these halachos.
Let’s assume I’m in a firm and everyone there speaks very freely. And assuming that I do not speak as freely and because I don’t people will look at me askance, maybe even I will lose my job, they’ll assume I’m not really with it or whatever, explains the Chafetz Chaim I am obligated to lose my job.
The halachah in Shulchan Aruch is that I’m obligated to give up all of my money, all of my wealth not to violate a single lo sa’aseh in the Torah. If not violating a lo sa’aseh would cost me all of my wealth, I am obligated not to violate it. Lashon hara is no different. Therefore, if I have a situation where if I don’t speak lashon hara it will cause me great financial harm or certainly it will embarrass me or cause me a loss of reputation, I’m obligated to stand strong and not say it, because again, lashon hara is a full prohibition of the Torah, equal to eating a cheeseburger, equal to many other issurim. It’s a full issur, and one isn’t allowed to do it.
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