Loshon Hora: A Definition


Loshon Hora: A Definition

Loshon Hora (lit. evil talk) is defined as information which is either derogatory or potentially harmful to another individual. A derogatory statement about someone is loshon hora, even if it will definitely not cause that person any harm. To focus on the shortcomings of another person is itself wrong.

A statement that could potentially bring harm to someone – be it financial, physical, psychological or otherwise – is loshon hora, even if the information is not negative.

(It should be noted that the term loshon hora refers even to true statements which are derogatory or harmful. Negative statements that are untrue or inaccurate are termed hotzaas shem ra, slander.)


Food for the Soul

One who guards his mouth and tongue, guards his soul from tribulations” (Mishlei 21:23).

Which man desires life, who loves days of seeing good? Guard your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit…” (Tehillim 34:13-14).

Why do the above verses single out shmiras haloshon, guarding one’s tongue, as the key to a good life in both worlds?

The human body is composed of 248 organs and 365 sinews. Corresponding to this are the 248 spiritual organs and 365 spiritual sinews of the soul. As Scripture states: “You clothe me with skin and flesh, cover me with bones and sinews” (Iyov 10:11). The various parts of the body are referred to as “clothing” and “covering” for they clothe and cover the soul within man. Each physical organ corresponds to a specific aspect of the soul.

Hashem has given us 248 positive commandments and 365 negative commandments which relate to the particular parts of the body with which they are performed.1 By performing a given mitzvah through a given organ, a spiritual light comes to rest upon the corresponding component of the soul; it is from this light that this component draws eternal vitality.

Thus, when a person fulfills all the Torah’s commandments, he transforms himself into an adam hashaleim, man of spiritual perfection, whose every fiber is sanctified unto Hashem.

The converse is true as well. If a person commits a transgression and does not repent for it, then the component of the soul which corresponds to that prohibition will suffer accordingly.

1. See opening introduction to Sefer Chareidim.


Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation


Since 1989, the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation has successfully launched innovative methods of promoting the Torah’s wisdom on human relations and personal development. The foundation utilizes a vast array of effective communication tools including books, tapes, video seminars, telephone classes and a newsletter, designed to heighten one’s awareness of such essential values as judging others favorably, speaking with restraint and integrity, and acting with sensitivity and respect. The Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation’s programs reassert the Torah’s timeless recipe for building a world of compassion and harmony. The following opportunities for learning and personal growth are available through their offices.

Become a daily email sponsor and help chofetzchaimusa.org provide thousands with easy access to the Torah’s inspiration. As a merit for a departed loved one, or for a recovery from illness, your sponsorship will go a long way toward bringing people the most effective tool for dealing with life’s troubles. Your dedication will reach over 8,000 recipients per day. Just email back the date and dedication you would like printed, along with your contact information to es@chofetzchaimusa.org.

A daily lesson from the Chofetz Chaim: A Lesson A Day/Mesorah Publications.

· To subscribe or unsubscribe: e-mail the Chofetz Chaim: A Lesson A Day/Mesorah Publications at alessonaday@chofetzchaimusa.org with subject subscribe/unsubscribe.

· To order tapes, books, learning programs and free catalog call: 866-593-8399.

· Please treat printed version with the respect due Torah materials.

Taken from my A Lesson A Day Email Subscription
Rabbi Chofetz Chaim
Chofetz Chaim
Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: