Home » JCentral

Will I Forgive You For What?!

Submitted by
JewishTreats.org

An ancient Jewish proverb declares: “Loose tongues are worse than wicked hands.”

Truth is, people do the most damage to each other with their mouths. Things done with our hands, such as injuries, thefts, etc, can be repaired. Words, however, are like feathers in the wind-they fly too fast to catch and can never be taken back. Jewish law regards lashon harah, wicked speech such as gossip and slander, as one of the worst of the transgressions that one commits against fellow humans.

Here is the dilemma: During the months of Elul and Tishrei (before and during the High Holidays), repentance must be our top priority. Repentance for hurting another person requires that we personally ask that person’s forgiveness. What do I do if I spoke badly about someone, in a fit of anger? Now that we are friends once again, how do I ask properly for forgiveness?

The answer to this dilemma depends on the extent of the “damage.” If the gossip itself created negative consequences, then the person must be asked directly for forgiveness. Even if no harm was done, and it is known that the person will be understanding about the incident, then forgiveness should still be asked.

However, if informing a person that you spoke about them would result in embarrassment or hurt, it is acceptable to ask for general forgiveness, without going into detail. Indeed, causing additional embarrassment to the person might actually necessitate asking for mechila (forgiveness) once again.

This Treat was originally posted on October 2, 2008.

Copyright © 2012 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

Email this post Email this post
Bookmark and Share

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.


nine + = 17

Jmag Search
Search now! »
Please enter a zip code.

polls

  • Which of these foods would you avoid on a date?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...