Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

HURTFUL WORDS Part 2

Previously we discussed one aspect of the prohibition of speaking hurtful words. We saw that it is generally forbidden to speak harshly to people. However, there are a number of other aspects to this prohibition:

1. The Talmud states that it is forbidden to remind a person of past misdemeanors that he would rather forget1 . To remind him of such unpleasant memories is very likely to cause him considerable pain.

2. It is also forbidden to make fun of a person if there is any possibility that he will be hurt by it. It is very common that friends spend much time teasing each other about aspects of their character or appearance. This may be acceptable if there is absolutely no chance of causing anguish; however, very often, the victims of such ‘innocent’ joking do feel hurt. Many of us know that we do not appreciate personal jokes aimed at us and it is important to realize that just like we would prefer not to be the butt of such jokes, our friends may feel the same way. Moreover, even if we are not effected by teasing, other people may be more sensitive than us and may still feel hurt.

3. Another aspect of joking that is often forbidden is making practical jokes, such as telling a person the wrong directions. This also causes a person discomfort and loss of valuable time and effort.

4. Similarly, it is forbidden to enter into a shop and look around at the items for sale with absolutely no intention of every buying them. Doing this will inevitably cause the shop owner to have unfounded expectations of a sale. However, if one wants to look at the items to see if he may want to buy them some time in the future, this is permitted2 .

The laws of ‘hurtful words’ teach us the importance of being sensitive to the feelings of our fellow man. This concept includes any speech that could even inadvertently cause pain. Many people are sensitive about specific things and talking about such matters are very likely to cause them discomfort. For example, if a person is suffering a certain difficulty in a certain area, it may be insensitive to discuss other people’s success in that same area, because to do so will likely remind them of their lacking in that area.

Like all commandments, this one is intended to cause us to improve as a person. Someone who is careful to avoid harming people with his words will surely develop into a highly sensitive person.

1 Bava Metsia, 58b.
2 Heard from Rav Yitzchak Berkovits Shlita. However, there are authorities who hold that if one does not have money with him he should not look at the items. (Mishpatey Shalom, p.87.).


Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org


 


ARTICLES ON MIKETZ AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Seeing the Plan to Fruition
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

Under the Radar
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

Shadowy Existence
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Killing Prayer
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

LIVE TODAY TO LIVE TOMORROW/Earning Our Slice of Eternity
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

O Chanukah, O Chanukah . . .
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

> Miketz - Preparing for the End
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

The Hasmoneans Take a Stand: A History of Chanukah, Part II
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5774

Turning Points
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Just in Keitz
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Two Year Prison Extension
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

Yosef and Chanukah
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

ArtScroll

The Strong and the Weak
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Just Say No
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5761

Our Noble Mission
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Associated Press
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information