Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: A few years ago I was tactlessly fired from my job. At that point, I was distraught and spoke a lot of lashon hara about my former boss and workplace. Those who listened to my complaints justified them and agreed that I’d been victimized. Baruch Hashem, I found a better job and managed to calm down and forgive the supervisor. I realized that it was preordained and she was only a messenger. Additionally, I was told that she regretted the aggravation she had caused me and that she had even tried to rehire me.

By now I know that it is incumbent upon me to ask for forgiveness, and wanted to clarify some issues.

  1. I don’t feel comfortable telling her what I said about her. Is it sufficient to ask for forgiveness in general on Erev Rosh Hashanah?
  2. The incident took place many years ago, and those who listened to the slander have probably forgotten about it by now. Should I trace them down and try to remove the negativity from their hearts?

A: 1) If no other option exists, it is sufficient to ask for forgiveness in general on Erev Rosh Hashanah.

2) In your case, the listeners have probably forgotten what they heard years back, and having understood at the time that there are two sides to the story, didn’t fully agree with your negative account. It therefore seems that you’re not obligated to remove the negativity from your listeners’ hearts, because in doing so you will likely transgress the issur of lashon hara again by reawakening forgotten memories.

The questions and answers above were taken from the Mishmeres Hasholom pamphlet in Israel. For details and inquiries please e-mail us at office@hasholom.org or call 972-2 5379160.

The views expressed are of the individual author. Readers are encouraged to consult their own posek for guidance.