What Is So Terrible About Lashon Hara?

SEFER CHOFETZ CHAIM — Introduction (Continued)

As we have seen, the sin of lashon hara is the primary reason we are in galus. It is clear from many teachings of our Sages that lashon hara is a most severe sin, one of the worst that a Jew can commit.

Why? Why should a sin that involves mere speech be viewed by Hashem in such a serious way?

The Chofetz Chaim offers three powerful reasons why this is so.

1. Hashem judges us midah k’neged midah, measure for measure. The reaction in Heaven when we speak lashon hara on this world is a powerful example of this. As long as we speak only good of one another, the Satan (Accusing Angel) cannot accuse the Jewish People in Heaven. However, when Jews speak evil of each other, this gives the Satan the ability to speak evil of the Jewish people before Hashem. The result, says the Zohar, is death and destruction in this world.
Our Sages teach that the sin of lashon hara “reaches the Heavenly Throne.” We now understand why. It is like a chain reaction. When we speak evil on this earth, we should picture the Satan before Hashem’s throne indicting the Jewish people by enumerating their sins. Do we want to be the cause of this?

2. Imagine a funnel that was just used to pour brake fluid into one’s car. Would anyone think of using the same funnel to pour wine into a wine bottle? Would anyone in his right mind drink such wine?
The human mouth is a precious “funnel.” It was given to us for avodas Hashem, so that we can study Torah, pray, speak kind words to others and express ourselves in other positive ways.
When we speak lashon hara, falsehood, or other improper speech, we contaminate our mouths spiritually, in a very real sense. The Torah and tefillah that emanate from the mouth of a baal lashon hara, one who speaks lashon hara regularly, has little, if any, power in Heaven.
What would a baal lashon hara do if a loved one was ill, G-d forbid? Most probably, he would respond like any other Jew — by reciting Tehillim, or learning Torah as a source of merit for the person. How horrible he would feel were he able to see that his words of Torah and prayer never reached the Heavens, because his loose tongue had ruined them, destroying their power.

3. We talk all the time, thousands upon thousands of words each day. Says the Chofetz Chaim: A person who disregards the sin of lashon hara will sin many, many times each day. Over the course of a year, he might accumulate tens of thousands of sins — a frightening thought for anyone who understands the seriousness of this sin.
This, says the Chofetz Chaim, is another reason why the sin of lashon hara is so terribly destructive.

Lashon hara gives the Satan power, weakens the power of our Torah and tefillah, and can cause a person to accumulate a staggering amount of sins.

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© 2020 Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

© 2020 Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation