Volume 27 Number 23
                      Produced: Mon Nov 17  5:36:50 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Honoring your father and mother
         [Michael Savere]
Lashon HaRa
         [Chana Luntz]
Loshon Hora and Therapy
         [Moshe Hillson]
Magdil vs Migdol
         [Shlomo Godick]
Migdol and Magdil (2)
         [Ira Kasdan, Gershon Dubin]
Psychotherapy and lashon hara
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]
Shmirat Halashon in the Workplace
         [Saul Mashbaum]


From: Michael Savere <aziz@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Nov 1997 18:52:57 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Honoring your father and mother

	Can anyone recommend good sources for a full explanation of the
commandment to honor your father and mother. I'm looking along the lines
of exactly what behavior that entails, and how do you honor them if they
don't respect you and treat you as they should.
				Michael Savere


From: Chana Luntz <heather@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Nov 1997 18:45:04 +0000
Subject: Lashon HaRa

I meant to post something regarding certain recognised exceptions to
Loshon Hara in response to a much earlier post in relation to Megan's
law, but I was too busy getting ready to go to Israel for the Yom Tovim.
But I see the issue has come up again.

In message <199711021143.GAA21700@...>,  Rise Goldstein
<GOLDSTN@...> writes:

> I am interested in
>the issue of where a dati therapist can/should/is obligated to draw the
>line between not heeding leshon ha-ra, and responding to a client's
>For example, _might_ someone conclude that a therapist is obligated not
>to act upon a child client's report that s/he has been abused,
>especially if the alleged abuser is, chas ve-chalila, a parent or even a
>rebbe?  Similarly, with a woman whose husband is battering her?  It may
>not be 100% essential in psychotherapy for a therapist to believe the

The gemorra in Nida 61a in the course of its discussion has cause to
make reference to the pit in which Yishmael ben Netanyahu (the killer of
Gedaliya) threw the dead bodies of the people he killed [including all
the people surrounding Gedalyia]- and therefore, as is its want, quotes
the pasuk that refers to this pit (Yirmiyahu 41:9) "Now the pit into
which Yishmael had cast all the dead bodies which he had killed "b'yad
Gedalyia" was that which Asa the king had made for fear of Ba'asha king
of Yisrael".  Now obviously the words "b'yad Gedalyia" are very strange.
The contextual meaning of it is probably, "in the place of Gedalyia",
but the straightforward meaning would seem to indicate that Gedalyia was
responsible for the killing.

So the gemorra in Nida immediately asks: Did Gedalyia kill them? Did not
Yishmael killed them? rather because he [Gedalyia] did not take
cognisance of/fear the advice of Yochanan ben Korach [who advised
Gedalyia that Yishmael was going to assassinate him, and that he should
act first, but Gedalyia refused to listen to this on the grounds that it
was loshen hora] the Tanach considers it as if he [Gedalyia] killed
them. Rava said in the case of Loshen Hora, even though you are not
allowed to accept it, you are required to take cognisance of/fear it.

And as various commentators point out (including, if memory serves me
correctly, the Chofetz Chaim, although I do not have the sefer in front
of me, so somebody with it could do a useful job of summarising the
halacha as he brings it down in this area) - what this means is that one
is not allowed to actually accept the loshen hora as true, but one is
required to act to protect oneself (eg, if one was Gedalyia, by making
sure there was no opportunity for Yishmael to assassinate him, while in
every other way treating him normally).

But the impact of this goes deeper - because if Gedalyia was wrong to
refuse to act on Yochanan's warning, then clearly Yochanan was right to
give it, at least in some form.  Which would suggest that - for example
in the case of Megan's law, although one should not accept that the
individual will or is likely to molest children, one would be obligated
to take preventative action vis a vis one's children, on the basis of
such information.

Of course this exception, while it may be extremely relevant in some of
the cases you cite above (battered women, abused children) where there
is continued risk to the person in question or to other people, would
not appear to apply where, for example, an adult is angry at their
parents for events of their childhood, where there is no longer any risk
to any  person. I believe that Rabbi Dr Twersky MD (as a practicing
psychiatrist, knowledgeable Orthodox Jew and author of a number of self
help books) has written on this matter, and I know that he used to speak
to heath professionals, particularly mental health professionals on
precisely these issues.  I would be doing him a grave disservice if I
attempted to summarise my understanding of what appears to be a very
complicated topic on the basis of a couple of lectures I have heard from
him and perusal of some writings many years ago.  My impression is,
however, that in certain circumstances it may be appropriate for a
psychiatrist to listen to/and even, within the confines of the
consulting room, believe the patient, where that will contribute to
their ultimate healing. I suggest that if you are interested in pursuing
the matter further, that his writings would be a good place to start.



From: Moshe Hillson <xmjh@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Nov 1997 08:12:59 -0500
Subject: RE: Loshon Hora and Therapy

Chaim Shapiro raised a query in VOL 27 #16,
Norman D. Guzick in VOL 27 #20 presented the "glove" metaphor,
and in VOL 27 #22 there were 2 replies to that metaphor.

I distinctly remember, when learning Hafetz Hayim (laws of gossip and
talebearing) a mention of 2 cases where it's a mitzva to lend an ear to
someone who has a gripe about someone else (laws of Lashon Hara CH. 6
paragraph 4):

1) When the listener feels he has the ability to convince the speaker
that there was a misunderstanding.
2) When the speaker will be calmed down by "ventilating".

But, the Hafetz Hayim continues, the listener must be especially careful
not to "believe" the speaker, only to "take his/her words into
consideration".  _This_ is the "glove". One can empathize with the
patient, and show it, without taking the patient's words at face
value. One can identify with the patient's feeling without agreeing with
his/her opinion.

Which leads us to a quotation from "Anonymous" in VOL 27 #20:

> With "unconditional positive regard" as a cornerstone for successful
> therapy, frum therapists, treating frum patients who are overly
> judgemental about their patients level of frumkeit are probably better
> off seeking another means of earning a living.

Rabbi Yehiel Jacobsen, in a tape on childraising (or adolescentraising),
raises a point of caution when chossing a therapist: Sometimes it
happens that a therapist chose to enter that profession as a result of
his/her own past profound emotional suffering, and might be overly
involved with the patient's sensations of suffering, instead of with
improving cognition and behavior. In my opinion, Rabbi Jacobsen and
"anonymous" are pointing to the same point: A therapist must have
sufficient emotional health to not become personally involved or
offended with the patient's views.

I apologize that I cannot remember which tape it's on, but it's a
_brilliant_ 14-tape series in Hebrew, available at tape libraries, or
can be purchased for a non-profit price at brances of Hasdei Na'ami
Hessed organization.

Moshe Hillson.


From: Shlomo Godick <shlomog@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Nov 1997 12:59:10 -0800
Subject: Magdil vs Migdol

Micha wrote: << Migdol yeshuos malko" means "a tower of salvation is his
rule".  "Magdil.."  means "Enlarge the salvation of his rule". Migdol a
statement of fact, magdil is a request. >>

"Enlarge" as a request would be "hagdel".  "Magdil" is better translated
as "He who enlarges" or "He who magnifies".

Kol tuv,
Shlomo Godick
Rechasim, Israel


From: Ira Kasdan <IKASDAN@...>
Date: Sun, 02 Nov 1997 10:15:21 -0500
Subject: Migdol and Magdil

Michael Kanovsky comments on the well known Torah Temimah -- Mekor
Baruch concerning Migdol and Magdil and the (alleged) printer's error. 

What is less known is that the Avudreham differentiates between Migdol
and Magdil and explains why the former is said on Shabbos and the latter
during the week.  The Avudreham was a rishon who lived before the Tanach
was printed and thus *before* printers split Sefer Shmuel into two parts
-- Aleph and Bet -- which is the basis for the Torah Temimah's premise
that there is a printer's error as Michael explained.

In this regard, see Rav Dovid Cohen's sefer on printing errors "Heakov
L'mishor" (in the mavoh] and his hagadah Simchas Yaavetz (in the Birkas
Hamazon].  It may also be noted that R. Yisroel Reisman of Brooklyn has
an interesting tape on the topic of printing errors in which he brings
down Rav Dovid Cohen's comments.

Yitzchak Kasdan

From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Sun, 2 Nov 1997 12:03:58 -0500
Subject: Re: Migdol and Magdil

>About Migdol and Magdil, Rav Baruch Epstein (the Torah Temimah) in his
>book Mekor Baruch says that it is all based on a mistake. Migdol is in
>Shmuel bet.  (the book of Samuel part B). The sidur had only magdil 

	Rav Dovid Cohen disputes this in his sefer on tefila.  He says
that the Avudraham says to say magdil during the week and midgol on
shabbos and yomtov, but the division into Shmuel aleph and bes, (and
that of Melachim and Divrei Hayamim) did not take place until the
printing of the bible by Christians, hundreds of years after the
Avudraham.  Until that time no Jews used this Christian way of referring
to an artificial division within one sefer of Tanach.

	As to the reason, he quotes the Avudraham's own reasons.  Both
are based on the idea that Shabbos is "king" as compared to the
weekdays.  The first is that the cholam is a "big king" whereas the
chirik is a "small king" The second is that migdol, in Shmuel, was when
Dovid was already a king whereas Tehilim was written before he became

	Also, he brings the Pri Megadim in the name of the Gra that it
is related to not saying Kesuvim on Shabbos afternoon.

	He also has an explanation of his own: The Gra points out that
posuk 44 in that perek in Shmuel contains the word "Tishmereni" whereas
the analogous posuk in Tehilim contains the word "Tesimeni".  The
gematria of Tishmereni is 1000 and that of Tesimeni (one yud) is 800.
There is a medrash that Dovid did not merit the posuk of "aicha yirdof
echad elef" (One person can defeat 1000) but only 800 as a consequence
of his sin in the matter of Uriah Hachiti.  Thus the shirah in Shmuel
was written before the sin of Uriah and that in Tehilim afterward.  (Not
like the Avudraham)
	Using this Gra, he says that since Shabbos is "me'ein olam haba"
and thus removed from sin, we prefer to use the posuk from Shmuel which
refers to a state before Dovid sinned.



From: Jeremy Nussbaum <jeremy@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Nov 1997 14:16:06 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Psychotherapy and lashon hara

Wrt psychotherapy and lashon hara:

If one does not believe in the efficacy of psychotherapy, it seems
clear to me that there is no reason to permit lashon hara.  It seems
to me that belief in the efficacy of pyschotherapy is a very recent
pheonomenon, and may not in fact have spread to all sectors of the
observant jewish community.

In other words, until the advent of Freud and his theories of the
mind, no positive value was assigned to speaking about one's views of
past experiences as a way to achieve a more "healthy" or funtional
outlook on one's life.  Hence classically there was no license for
such speech under any circumstance.

If one does believe in the efficacy of psychotherapy, then one way to
ask the question is: is the positive value of psychotherapy for the
patient worth the negative value of the lashon hara that must come up
as part ot the therapy?  Or perhaps under such circumstances, it is
not classical lashon hara, since the therapist is clearly separating
the patient's perception of reality from reality itself, and there is
a positive, long term therapeutic benefit from the ongoing
conversation.  As at least one poster has mentioned, it is not
possible to avoid some form of lashon hara in pychotherapy, nor can
the effective therapist steer the conversation away from such

This is separate from investigating possible spousal or child abuse.
The problem here is the absence of direct witnesses, and the difficulty
of ascertaining the truth of the situation.  I am not aware of what
halachic precedent there is for communal intervention in the case of
suspected abuse, with or without the request of the purported victim, or
what the standards of evidence are, and am interested to hear from those
who have looked into this question.

Jeremy Nussbaum (<jeremy@...>)


From: Saul Mashbaum <mshalom@...>
Date: Sun, 02 Nov 1997 17:53:10 GMT-2
Subject: Shmirat Halashon in the Workplace

Chaim Shapiro's sensitive question about therapy and lashon hara is
related to additional questions about lashon hara in the workplace which
deserve addressing.

Many workers come across information about others regularly in the
course of their work. People involved in hiring or worker evaluation for
promotion or placement regularly receive written and verbal information
about the workers involved. Is there somehow a blanket dispensation of
such information from the restrictions on transmitting and receiving
negative information about people?

Similarly, financial information about people may be negative.  Are
people who work in banks or finance departments allowed carte blanche to
elicit negative information about applicants, clients, customers, etc.,
and act on it? If not, what are the guidelines and restrictions?

I am not very familiar with the social work profession, but it seems to
me that some of the problems Chaim Shapiro describes would arouse in
social work. Perhaps some mj-readers can provide anecdotes and
information about this subject.

What I'm trying to arouse in this posting is not a list of piskei
halacha - I fully support those, including the moderator, who have
pointed out that this forum is not intended to replace competant
halachic autorities who can evaluate specific cases fully - but general
guidelines and approaches to this thorny issue in the various
professions. Many readers can probably add information which, if not
providing a solution, can help define the problem.

Saul Mashbaum


End of Volume 27 Issue 23