Thursday, April 15, 2010

LASHON HARA: our daily tests

1st of Iyar, 5770. (Rosh Chodesh Iyar).

TODAY IS THE 16th DAY OF OMER (2 weeks, 2 days)

Consider the following situation: You are at a wedding reception and some people at your table begin denigrating someone. One person turns to you and says, "Didn't you go to school with him? Was he always this way?"
Now you are faced with a difficult test. Will you attempt to change the topic, or do you succumb and add your piece of Lashon haRa to the conversation?
A difficult test? Perhaps. But it will surely be made easier if you give thought to the following advice aim. Take stock of what you are about to do. If you remain strong and refuse to speak Lashon haRa, there may be people who will consider you self-righteous— something that anyone would want to avoid. On the other hand, if you fail and speak Lashon haRa, you will have much more to deal with, for you will face embarrassment in the World of Truth, before the King of all Kings, God Almighty.
The Chofetz Chaim quotes the teaching of our Sages: "Better to be considered a fool your entire life than to have haShem Almighty have you as a rasha (wicked person) for even a moment."
Moreover: With time and consistency –if a person closes his mouth refraining from participating in collective Lashon haRa- he might even influence and inspire his peers to act in the right way not with lecturing words but with his own good example.

Adapted from Chofetz Chaim: A daily companion.