Now you are faced with a difficult test. Will you attempt to change the topic, or will 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. 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 feel the guilt of having done something terrible and you will feel ashamed before the King of all Kings, God Almighty.
The Chafetz Chaim quotes the teaching of our Sages: "It is better to be considered a fool (by others) your entire life than to have haShem Almighty have you as a wicked person for even one moment."
Moreover: With time and consistency -if a person refrains from participating in collective Lashon haRa- he might influence and inspire his peers to act in the right way, not with lecturing words but with his own good example.
Adapted from Chafetz Chayim: a daily companion.
Dear readers: For a few days I will be posting HOTD that were sent last year. I hope B'H to resume shortly the regular method.
Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024