lashon hara how bad is it

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    after seing many threads, i decided to start this one. should we take the words of the rambam litterly? i say definatly! its the worst sin worse than anyone you can speak about!

    1A person who collects gossip about a colleague violates a prohibition as [Leviticus 19:16] states: “Do not go around gossiping among your people.”

    Even though this transgression is not punished by lashes, it is a severe sin and can cause the death of many Jews. Therefore, [the warning]: “Do not stand still over your neighbor’s blood” is placed next to it in the Torah [ibid.]. See what happened [because of] Doeg, the Edomite.

    2 Who is a gossiper? One who collects information and [then] goes from person to person, saying: “This is what so and so said;” “This is what I heard about so and so.” Even if the statements are true, they bring about the destruction of the world.

    There is a much more serious sin than [gossip], which is also included in this prohibition: lashon horah, i.e., relating deprecating facts about a colleague, even if they are true.

    [Lashon horah does not refer to the invention of lies;] that is referred to as defamation of character. Rather, one who speaks lashon horah is someone who sits and relates: “This is what so and so has done;” “His parents were such and such;” “This is what I have heard about him,” telling uncomplimentary things. Concerning this [transgression], the verse [Psalms 12:4] states: “May God cut off all guileful lips, the tongues which speak proud things…”

    3 Our Sages said: “There are three sins for which retribution is exacted from a person in this world and, [for which] he is [nonetheless,] denied a portion in the world to come: idol worship, forbidden sexual relations, and murder. Lashon horah is equivalent to all of them.”

    Our Sages also said: “Anyone who speaks lashon horah is like one who denies God as [implied by Psalms 12:5]: ‘Those who said: With our tongues we will prevail; our lips are our own. Who is Lord over us?’”

    In addition, they said: “Lashon horah kills three [people], the one who speaks it, the one who listens to it, and the one about whom it is spoken. The one who listens to it [suffers] more than the one who speaks it.”

    4 There are certain matters which are considered “the dust of lashon horah.” What is implied? [For example, a person says:] “Who will tell so and so to continue acting as he does now,” or “Do not talk about so and so; I do not want to say what happened,” or the like.

    Similarly, it is also considered the “dust of lashon horah” when someone speaks favorably about a colleague in the presence of his enemies, for this will surely prompt them to speak disparagingly about him. In this regard, King Solomon said [Proverbs 27:14]: “One who greets his colleague early in the morning, in a loud voice, curses him,” for his positive [act] will bring him negative [repercussions].

    Similarly, [to be condemned is] a person who relates lashon horah in frivolity and jest, as if he were not speaking with hatred. This was also mentioned by Solomon in his wisdom [Proverbs 26:18-19]: “As a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death and says: ‘I am only joking.’”

    [Also, to be condemned is] someone who speaks lashon horah about a colleague slyly, pretending to be innocently telling a story without knowing that it is harmful. When he is reproved, he excuses himself by saying: “I did not know that the story was harmful or that so and so was involved.”

    5 [There is no difference] whether one speaks lashon horah about a person in his presence or behind his back. [The statements] of people who relate matters which, when passed from one person to another, will cause harm to a man’s person or to his property or will even [merely] annoy him or frighten him are considered as lashon horah.

    If such statements were made in the presence of three people, [one may assume that the matter] has already become public knowledge. Thus, if one of the three relates the matter a second time, it is not considered lashon horah, provided his intention was not to spread the matter further and publicize it.
    6 All the above are people who speak lashon horah in whose neighborhood, one is forbidden to dwell. How much more so [is it forbidden] to sit [together] with them and hear their conversation.

    The judgement against our ancestors in the desert was only sealed because of lashon horah.

    Sam Klein

    I agree with everything you wrote above to be true and honest and directly from the Torah. So will we finally learn to take these laws more serious and stop corrupting ourselves into doing it by making ourselves think that it’s l’toeles-to say bad about this girl in shidduchim, cause saying it will prevent the marriage and prevent the future divorce which I know will happen-when in truth our intentions are completely false and not l’toeles we just sadly let ourselves get corrupted into sinning and it’s very sad causing all of klal yisroel to remain in golus due to the sin of many one person saying bad about another person when it could’ve been completely avoided and helped bring Mashiach come already bkarov.

    May we all seriously stop doing this terrible sin immediately so it will make klal yisroel worthy of the coming of Mashiach already bkarov.

    Reb Eliezer

    The holy Torah gives an antidote to lashan hara. It says, betzedek tishpot amisecha, judge your friend for the good followed by lo selech rachil beamecha. If you look for the good lin your friends, you will not gossip about them.


    While Sam Klein’s motives may be questionable, most normal folks can be perfectly sincere when speaking l’toeles, and while nil nisi bonum is good to practice in everyday interactions, it’s necessary to note that not all derogatory speech constitutes Lashon Hara. As noted above, l’toeles is exempt as is common knowledge. For instance, telling someone that Harvey Weinstein is a menuval is just repeating what everyone knows.

    anonymous Jew

    What’s the point of sheduchim resumes etc if you’re not allowed to tell the truth. I’ve also never understood why protecting consumers by airing that a contractor was dishonest and did shoddy work was loshon hora


    There are halachos about what, how and when to disclose sensitive shidduchim information. Also, savvy people don’t only call people listed on the resume.

    Regarding publicizing bad contractors, or other business related things; there are likewise many details that go into such a shailoh. Is the guy ripping off people entirely? Is he just not the best? Did he make one or two isolated mistakes? And even then, you have to abide by all of the conditions laid out in the chofetz chaim, including approaching him first, going to his rov, verifying all information first hand and not going by other people’s reports, not using unnecessarily harsh language or exaggerating. Then there are times that you can only tell people who are going to use him, but not smear him all over social media – that can impact not just him, but his family too.


    a point about shiduchim: no one is perfect and no one should expect someone to be perfect. peopel who think they will mary the perfect girl or boy, will be very angry a month after their wedding. or they will never get married. when i make a shiduch call i want to hear about this person how people look at him in general and also more detailed, but i dont need to hear that once in a while he’s nasty to someone, or wakes up late etc. many older buchurim without structure may not be at their best, when the person called feels it his duty to say all his issues, even serious ones, thats for the boy and girl to discuss after they met. i dont think that is litoeles. also some times this causes the boy or girl to hide more, because of the knowledge that if people know certain things about me, they will turn me down, so he dosent tell anyone, doesn’t get help, dosent tell the girl hes dating. if people mind their own business and stop judging people, he will be ablt to talk about it, not feel isolated, and get the help he needs and live a normal life.


    Avira > all of the conditions laid out in the chofetz chaim,

    There are current issues that I do not see in Ch Ch. We have now ability to accumulate and disseminate information and people use this approach routinely. When you are looking up an airline or a hotel, you look up reviews. you are not calling some people who know some people who are neighbors to the hotel … the same for ratemyprofessors and ratemyteachers. Many systems generate “recommendations” for news, books, etc that are based on their internal metrics. Some of this is clearly violating L’H rules, but we also see

    Did you actually just say “some of this may be against L”H rules BUT”?  



    the tanya’s approach to lashon hara igeres 22
    ועוד זאת אדרוש ממעל’ שלא להשליך דברי אחריכם אשר ערכתי שיח להיות כל איש ישר והולך בתומו כאשר עשה האלקי’ את האדם ישר ולא לבקש חשבונות רבים מעלילות מצעדי גבר ומחשבות אדם ותחבולותיו. כי זו מלאכת שמים היא ולא מלאכת ב”ו. ולהאמין באמונה שלימה במצות חז”ל והוי שפל רוח בפני כל אדם בכלל כי יציבא מלתא ותקין פתגמא שכ”א מתוקן מחבירו. וכתיב כל [איש] ישראל כאיש אחד חברים. כמו שאיש א’ מחובר מאברים רבים ובהפרדם נוגע בלב כי ממנו תוצאות חיים. אם כן אנחנו היות כולנו כאיש א’ ממש תיכון העבודה בלב ומכלל הן כו’. וע”כ נאמר ולעבדו שכם אחד דוקא.

    וע”כ אהוביי ידידיי נא ונא לטרוח בכל לב ונפש לתקוע אהבת רעהו בלבו. ואיש את רעת רעהו אל תחשבו בלבבכם כתיב ולא תעלה על לב לעולם ואם תעלה יהדפנה מלבו כהנדוף עשן וכמו מחשבת על זה ממש. כי גדולה לה”ר כנגד ע”ז וג”ע וש”ד. ואם בדבור כך כו’ וכבר נודע לכל חכם לב יתרון הכשר המח’ על הדבור הן לטוב והן למוטב. וה’ הטוב המברך את עמו בשלום ישים עליכם שלום וחיים עד העולם כנפש או”נ מלו”נ:

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