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 KI SISA AND PURIM:

View Complete List

Internal Confrontations
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

The Heart of Gold - Perceiving Amalek
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

Watermelons, Leeks, Onions, and Cucumbers
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Washing Hands
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

The Soul of Prayer
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5768

Knowing Why and When To Say When
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

> No Contest
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

Sign of a Jew
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

The Holiness of Shabbat
Shlomo Katz - 5765

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Purim Lesson???
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Delving into the Megila
- 5774

Forged With Love
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

ArtScroll

Of Mice Traps and Men
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Masked Emotions
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

Light and Joy
Shlomo Katz - 5765

Haman's Offer of Silver Shekels
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760



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