Four Ways to Misfire

Four Ways to Misfire

By Good Gossip | Chana Nestlebaum No Comments
  • 0
  • February 21, 2018

When you use words as ammunition, there are four ways to inflict casualties.
Miriam’s cousins came to town for a wedding without letting her know.
“What inconsiderate snobs!” she told her husband.
“They didn’t even call you, let alone me,” she informed her mother. “Their own
“They never liked our family,” Miriam told her sister. “But they’re not so great
themselves. Remember when Cousin Moshe suddenly came back from yeshiva? For sure
he got kicked out.”
By that evening, the cousins had heard about Miriam’s grievance. Cousin Leah
called to explain: With no time for a proper visit, they thought it would be kinder to come
and go unannounced.
“Well, thanks a lot,” Miriam responded. “But I don’t need your condescending
In one day, Miriam had covered the gamut of forbidden speech. She spoke classic
loshon hora to her husband (derogatory words about a third party); rechilus to her mother
(a story that might arouse anger at the cousins); motzi shem ra to her sister (her words
were not true); and ona’as devarim to Leah (words that inflict pain).  Whether the verbal
bullets ricochet off other people or shoot straight at their target, they always hit their

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