The Laws #6

Collateral Damage

If I speak a derogatory story about another Jew, not only do I potentially violate the lo sa’aseh of “לֹא תֵלֵךְ רָכִיל בְּעַמֶּיךָ”, explains the Chafetz Chaim there are many other lo sa’asehs, many other negative prohibitions that are included.

Number one, if I tell a derogatory story, obviously I’m speaking lashon hara. But as I’m forbidden to speak lashon hara, you’re forbidden to hear it. And additional to your being forbidden to hear it, you’re forbidden to be mekabel, you’re forbidden to accept it to be true. So if I speak lashon hara, number one I’m telling a derogatory story, I violate the lo sa’aseh. Number two, I’m causing you potentially to listen to lashon hara and thereby also potentially to accept it. What that means is I’m also over “לפני עור”. I’m not allowed to cause another Jew to sin. “לפני עור לא תתן מכשול”, don’t put a stumbling block in front of another person. If I am the cause, if I am the catalyst of your sinning, automatically I violate a lo sa’aseh.

So if I speak lashon hara the first problem is I violate a lo sa’aseh immediately because I spoke lashon hara. In addition to which I endangered you by causing you to listen, potentially caused you to be mekabel. That means automatically I also violated another lo sa’aseh of ” לפני עור לא תתן מכשול”, not endangering, not trapping another Jew in sin. And therefore almost automatically any time I speak lashon hara it’s not one, but quite a number of issurim that I potentially will violate.

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