Negative Commandment #77a
Sefer Ha’mitzvos Ha’Katzar (The concise book of mitzvos)
By the Chofetz Chaim
This book lists the Torah mitzvos that can be observed today
Second Section – the Negative Commandments
77. It is a negative commandment "Do not tell anyone what someone else said about them"
As it states in Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:16, "do not go as a gossiper among your people." Even if he speaks the truth, this destroys the world. This is a great sin and causes the death of Jewish souls, like we see with Doeg Ha'Admoni.
There is a greater sin than this that is included in this commandment, and that is Lashon Hara (slander). This is speaking negatively of another person, even if he speaks the truth. If one speaks a lie, it is called Motzei Shem Ra. Lashon Hara is when a person states: this person did such and such a thing OR this and that were his forefathers OR such a thing I heard about him OR someone that speaks matters of denigration. About this it is stated in Tehillim (Psalms) 12:4, "G-d will cut off all the equivocating lips, the tongue that speaks proud."
Our Sages of blessed memory state, "For three sins a person is punished in this world and he does not receive the World to Come: idol worship, illicit relations, and murder. Lashon Hara is equal to all of them." Also, our Sages of blessed memory states, "One who speaks Lashon Hara is like a heretic." Also, they stated, "Lashon Hara kills three people: the speaker, the listener, and the person it is spoken about. The listener is punished more than the speaker."
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK