Q: When I was in third grade I had a very devoted Rebbi. The summer before fifth grade, my neighbor, who was soon to be starting third grade, told me that his friends really wanted this Rebbi. But for some reason, I persuaded him that it’s not worthwhile for them and I said bad things about the Rebbi.
I believe that the neighbor went and told this to all his friends. The class ended up getting this Rebbi for the afternoon classes, and a few months later I heard that the Rebbi had left the position, saying that this class was too wild (which was really true; this was an unusually mischievous class and the principal always needed to go in to call them to order…).
I feel very bad about what happened. It could be that were it not for my lashon hara, the Rebbi would have managed to get control of the class. But the chances are that it wouldn’t have happened, since, as I mentioned, even their main Rebbi couldn’t handle them. At the end of that year, they mixed up the parallel classes and split them up differently, to change the makeup of the class.
On Erev Rosh Hashanah, I apologized to that Rebbi, but without going into details. Is that enough?
A: The questioner can put his mind at ease; he doesn’t have to ask the Rebbi’s forgiveness.
It isn’t reasonable that his lashon hara is what caused the boys in the class to be so wild that the Rebbi wasn’t able to control them. The proof is that even their main Rebbi and the principal himself couldn’t motivate them to behave properly; they needed to rearrange the composition of the classes and scatter the boys from this class among a few classes.
Therefore, there is no concern that the questioner’s remarks caused this Rebbi damage, and he doesn’t have to ask his forgiveness, especially since he already did so on Erev Rosh Hashanah without going into detail, and in the case at hand, this is definitely adequate.
Nevertheless, the questioner needs to do teshuvah for the lashon hara that he spoke — by feeling regret, admitting his sin, and resolving not to repeat it in the future.
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The views expressed are of the individual author. Readers are encouraged to consult their own posek for guidance.