shmirat haloshon - Good behavior begins at Home

This post is dedicated in merit that Hershel ben Etya Sarah have a yeshuah.

Elisheva Maline

The Chofetz Chaim emphasizes that although shmirat haloshon (avoiding negative speech) must be put to action all times, the home setting needs an extra vigilence. Unfortunately, people aren't aware that it is much easier to spew loshon hara at home since he is most comfortable letting loose there and as a consequence, doesn't pay as much attention to the negativity he is apt to speak regarding family members etc. This problem of excess loshon hara at home is also due to the fact that the easiest and funnest gossip usually rotates around family members. Consider the following scenario: At a party a cousin approaches another and asks, "Did you hear that aunt Sally and uncle Harry are getting a divorce?" The second fellow answers, "Why yes, I did. It must have been those long hours Harry was spending at work. Sally feels neglected, poor thing." Whatever is going on at a relatives house may be juicy to speculate over but it is also none of your business. Additionally, the speech by which one conducts himself usually depends on where he finds himself. The less familiar the surroundings i.e. the world outside his front stoop, the greater his chances that he will step up his polite behavior. 

In Judaism, there is the klal (principle) that good behavior must begin at home. Looking to win an award for making a wonderful impression as opposed to being genuinely good is not going to hold water at the home base. The house is where all the love and goodness, or personal issues and much, pour forth. There are no secrets beyond the thresh hold. In order for us to look good, speak nicely and behave well on a regular basis, we have no other option but to start investing where it is hardest. Why do people express a stronger interest in projects that touch their hearts as opposed to helping out their families? It's easier to help where one isn't required to. Flip your thinking process. When it comes to giving charity, for instance, the Torah gives a list of people to whom one can donate starting with one's immediate family, blood relatives, the community and city he lives in etc. Then if there is any money or energy left over, a person might invest in an endangered species fund. 

Let's look at the above idea through the medium of dressing well. Getting dressed up, straightening one's hair and struggling into a pair of heels are all activities one generally reserves for leaving the house. Conversely, on the weekends or after work, people tend to transform from suits to grandpa sweaters. They shuffle from bedroom to kitchen and back, with the fuzzy slippers and a ratty robe they whipped off the sale's rack at Target (a popular American pseudo-department store). A person's attitude is such that once he is behind closed doors he can let his hair down and truely act himself. That's why when you want to know the truth about a person, ask his spouse or roommate.

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