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In this week's Parasha, it seems to me that Hashem speaks L'H about Sarah, regarding her laughing about having a child (Genesis.18.13).

וַיֹּ֥אמֶר ה' אֶל־אַבְרָהָ֑ם לָ֣מָּה זֶּה֩ צָחֲקָ֨ה שָׂרָ֜ה לֵאמֹ֗ר הַאַ֥ף אֻמְנָ֛ם אֵלֵ֖ד וַאֲנִ֥י זָקַֽנְתִּי׃

Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I in truth bear a child, old as I am?’

Did Hashem indeed speak L'H, and is this only permissible because He is God, and is this a case we shouldn't try and emulate Hashem?

  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Why did God lie about Sarah? – DonielF Nov 18 '19 at 22:44
  • @DonielF This asks why he said lashon hara. That asks why he lied – b a Nov 19 '19 at 12:37
  • @ba Part of that question addresses Lashon Hara – DonielF Nov 19 '19 at 16:32
  • @DonielF It mentions lashon hara, it doesn't ask about it – b a Nov 19 '19 at 16:34
  • Let's try to get some clarity on what the definition of lashon hara actually is. I understand that it means telling the truth about someone's actions or behavior in an attempt to place the other in a bad image. If God was lying, that doesn't seem to be LH. – DanF Nov 19 '19 at 17:04
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+50

You ask that all aspects of the question presented by the OP be addressed. So first, to restate the specific points enumerated from the OP:

  1. is Hashem indeed speaking L'H, and
  2. is this only permissible because he is God, and
  3. is this a case we shouldn't try and emulate Hashem?

There is general teaching found within both the written and oral Torah that G-d keeps all His commandments. This is based upon Tehillim 147:19 which says:

He issued His commands to Jacob, His statutes and rules to Israel.

This same theme is also in Brachot 6a in the name of Rabbi Yitzchok who asks where is it written that G-d wears tefillin.

And so, just as we have a commandment prohibiting speaking Lashon HaRa, so too does G-d. But while some of us may stumble in this mitzvah, G-d does not.

And this answers points 1 and 2 from the OP. No, G-d is not speaking Lashon HaRa because He keeps His commandments and because that first premise is incorrect, point 2 also falls away.

The 3rd point in the question is more general. The OP postulates from point 2, if G-d is speaking Lashon HaRa against Sarah in the Parsha quoted and then follows to ask in point 3 is this an example where we shouldn't follow G-d's behavior?

In truth, a more careful reading of the Torah text is needed. The Torah discussing G-d's interaction with Avraham and Sarah in Bereshit 18:9-15 is actually via His angels, not G-d directly. So strictly speaking, this story is really asking should we emulate this type of behavior in regard to dealing with His Angels.

But if we deal with what the OP actually asked, the general Torah teaching is from Mishlei 3:6

In all your ways know (meaning connect, as in cleave with) Him, And He will make your paths smooth.

which teaches that we should emulate G-d's behavior and teaching in all areas, like is expressed by Metzudat David to this posuk in Mishlei.

And if the side issue from this question is considered, namely should we behave with G-d's Angels in the way that is taught here in the Torah?

The response would be yes. But what the specific teaching is here, as it relates to interactions with Angels, is a more complex subject. This would fall into the area discussed in Malbim's commentary to the same posuk in Mishlei which distinguishes between the broad general ways of G-d and the more specific paths of wisdom.

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  • Good answer, I just don't understand one thing, Why is it permitted to speak the Lashon Hara. If it is even Lashon Hara. – Mordechai Schmerler Apr 28 at 17:25
  • @MordechaiSchmerler So really, what you want me to deal with is what is happening with the Angels. This isn't really what is asked in the question. But if you want the concept in general, there is a distinction between Lashon HaRa and accusation. Accusation (שטנה) is part of all legal challenges. The angels present with Sarah & Avraham then, made an accusation, similar to what Satan does. That accusation, like with Yom Kippur, is potentially the source of blessing for those accused. – Yaacov Deane Apr 28 at 17:40
  • ty i wanted both and everything is perfect – Mordechai Schmerler Apr 28 at 17:41
  • @MordechaiSchmerler If that is the case and you are the one who offered the 50 points, please mark my answer correct. – Yaacov Deane Apr 28 at 17:44
  • @MordechaiSchmerler Thank you. – Yaacov Deane Apr 28 at 17:45
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First, trying to put God into some kind of frame or set of rules that he must obey feels, IMHO, like - if I'll put this in polite words - big misconception.

Having that said, this question is still valid since Lashon Hara causes harm, so why would God will this to Sara?

I guess that telling this to Abraham will have some kind of benefit, on the long run, so it's not immoral.

That reflects on Lashon Hara rules. Telling Lashon Hara is not forbidden when the speaker means to make the person that he talks about to repent, and he assumes that telling his bad deeds will help this goal. (Shmirat Halashon rule 10:3-4).

We all speak Lashon Hara with our spouses about our children, and with our fellow teachers about our students (when necessary). It's part of how education works, and God educate the people of Israel.

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  • There is a concept of Lashon Hara Letoelet, but Hashem does not speak Lashon Hara, My proof is that when Yehoshua asked Hashem who was the one that took from the spoils of Jericho, Hashem tells Yehoshua to hold a lottery. Why? Hashe said "Am I A Talebearer" i won't speak Lashon Hara. Hashem does not speak Lashon Hara, Even letoelet, thus how can your statement be correct? – Mordechai Schmerler Apr 26 at 3:00
  • Side point the Chofetz Chaim learns from this that if one has to speak Lashon Hara one should minimize the speaking of Lashon Hara. – Mordechai Schmerler Apr 26 at 3:03
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    @MordechaiSchmerler I don't get it. God asks Avraham "Why did Sara laughed"? isn't it Lashon Hara? The reason that God tells Yehoshua to draw lottery is because Yehoshua can find out by himself. What would happened if Yehoshua couldn't do it? BTW trying to learn directly from Midrash is a dangerous path, ואכמ"ל – Alaychem goes to Codidact Apr 26 at 11:47
  • Two things, I am using the Midrash as a definitive source because the Chofetz Chaim uses it. When Hashem asks Avraham About Sarah Laughing, Hashem could have made it in a way where it would not be straight out but hinted to. – Mordechai Schmerler Apr 26 at 15:36
  • We have a concept which the Rishonim use. The actions of the Avot affect us today. For example: when Sarah was "Opresing"(machloket on what that means), so Yishmael children shall oppress us. The actions here represent something, could it be a lack of faith found in the mother can lead to the child thus making Hashem speak very harshly be appropriate. Or something of the sorts. If you add something more to your answer I can find it plausible and even correct. – Mordechai Schmerler Apr 26 at 15:43

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