The Laws #37

Forced To Listen – Don't Benefit

If I’m inadvertently listening to lashon hara, we said that there are three criteria that a person has to meet and then they don’t violate the issur, prohibition, of listening to lashon hara.

The first one is they have to not be mekabel. They have to make sure that they don’t accept it to be true. The second criterion is they have to not be neheneh, they can’t benefit from the story. Meaning to say, if you tell me a story about Reuven and I enjoy it, it’s an interesting story and I like that fact, that is an independent problem of being neheneh, enjoying, benefiting from an issur. Lashon hara is something that is forbidden, and because it’s something that’s forbidden it’s forbidden for me to derive benefit from it. If I’m in a situation where I have to listen because I didn’t want to but I’m forced into it, so I’m not held accountable because I’m forced into it. But what I have to make sure is that I don’t derive benefit from it. Because much like basar b’chalav, meat cooked with milk, even if I don’t eat it I’m not allowed to derive benefit from it, so too lashon hara is an issur and I have to make sure that if I can’t avoid listening I have to make sure that I am not nicha, that I don’t derive benefit so that, again, I don’t violate the Torah issur.

So requirement number one is I’m not mekabel, I don’t accept it. Requirement number two is that I’m not nicha, I’m not happy, I’m not deriving benefit from the story.

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