Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lashon HaRa

Lashon HaRa
Evil Tongue / Slanderous Talk

Lashon HaRa encompasses all forms of forbidden speech (gossip, slander, lying, etc.).

VaYikra 19:16 "You shall not go about spreading slander among your people..."

According to the Talmud, slander is a hideous capital crime; a slanderer is like one who denies G-d.  G-d says of the slanderer:  "He and I cannot live together in the world" (Arachin 15b)

The term slaner has been defined as the utterance or dissemination of false statements or reports concernikng a person, or malicious misrepresentation of his actions, in order to defame or injure him.  In Jewish tradition, the law in VaYikra 19:16 is understood to forbid the peddling of gossip, even if the report is true and told without malice (Yad, Deot 7:2)

Prayer to Resist Speaking Lashon HaRa

Master of the world, may it be Your will, gracious and Almighty, to grant me the merit today and every day to guard my mouth and my tongue not to be ensnared into forbidden speech, specifically the sins of lashon hara (slander) and rechilut (gossip);
...that I avoid speaking against an individual and surely against Yisrael as a whole - an extremely grave sin - and, even worse, complaining against the Holy One's treatment - which is the worse sin of all;
...that I avoid lying;
...that I avoid flattering - smoothing over someone's sin to his face;
...that I avoid scoffing and the company of scoffers;
...that I be careful not to pain anyone with words;
...that I be careful not to embarrass any person even while reproving him;
...that I be careful not to speak arrogantly;
...that I be careful not to spark strife;
...that I be careful not to spark anger.

Grant me the merit to speak only what is essential to my physical and spiritual well being, and that everything I do and say should be a credit to Your Name.



-Sefer Hatechinot Vatitpalel Chanah - Techinot for the Jewish woman
-Chafetz Chayim - Sefer Chafetz Chayim - The Laws of Esurei LaShon HaRa and Rechilut

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