Loshon Hora: A Definition

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Loshon hora (lit., evil talk) is defined as information which is either derogatory or potentially harmful to another individual. A derogatory statement about someone is loshon hora, even if it will definitely not cause that person any harm. To focus on the shortcomings of another person is in itself wrong.

A statement that could potentially bring harm to someone — be it financial, physical, psychological or otherwise — is loshon hora, even if the information is not negative.

(It should be noted that the term loshon hora refers even to true statements which are derogatory or harmful. Negative statements that are untrue or inaccurate are termed hotzaas shem ra, slander —

Sefer Chofetz Chaim, 1 Tishrei, page 50

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