Me'am Loez on Pirkei Avos 4:3 quotes a Sefer called Divrei Yechezkel to explain the words

אל תהי בז לכל אדם

as meaning "Don't disparage the entirety of a human being." Even if you see someone who has some aspect that is bad, don't disparage him entirely as there are some aspects of him that are good.

This is a beautiful Peshat which helps explain a deeper element of what the problem is with Lashon Harah (that you are casting someone in a bad light based on one flaw but you are not giving the whole picture) and I would like to see it inside. I checked all of the Sefarim named Divrei Yechezkel on Otzar Hachochmah and Hebrew Books and I didn't see this Peshat in any of them.

Does anyone know which Sefer called Divrei Yechezkel this is? Do you have a picture of it or the complete text? Do you know of anyone who says the same Peshat even (Midrash Shmuel has a Peshat which is similar but can be interpreted differently. I want someone who unquestionably says this - preferably the Divrei Yechezkel the Me'am Lo'ez quoted, but anyone is fine).

2 Answers 2


This sefer cites it in the name of the Divrei Yechezkel of Shinova (R' Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam, 1813-1898, son of R' Chaim of Tzanz):

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Edit (by author of question) - Thank you so much! With your help I found it! Its in דברי יחזקאל על התורה ומועדים page 125 (new printing. Pages 55-56 in the old printing). His exact words are:

אל תהי בז לכל אדם (ד:ג) פירוש אם תראה חסרון ומדה גרועה באדם אל יהיה לנקלה לבוז בעיניך האדם כלו לגמרי כאלו לא נחשב כלל לאדם כי יש בו שאר מדות טובות ויהיה נחשב בעיניך בעבור המדות טובות שלו:

  • +1 Because this answers the question. But it should be noted this is a typical cute hassidic vort which focuses on an interesting expression and ignores basic grammar. The correct way to write what is suggested here would be לכל האדם.
    – user6591
    Jul 28, 2020 at 14:59
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    So I immediately thought of the same author you bring - but he lived later than the me'am loez - so how does it tally?
    – Dov
    Jul 28, 2020 at 15:04
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    As opposed to the Yalkut Me'am Loez written by Rav Yaakov Culi - to which I thought he was referring?
    – Dov
    Jul 28, 2020 at 15:59
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    @Dov The original Me'am Loez was written in the 18th century, first by R' Yaakov Culi and then continued by other authors. The volume on Pirkei Avos, though, was basically just a translation of several classic commentaries (Rambam, Bartenura, Midrash Shmuel, etc.), so when R' Shmuel Yerushalmi translated the series into Hebrew in the 1960s, he rewrote it and added a lot of new material. The English translation more faithfully reproduces the original. (See R' Aryeh Kaplan's preface to the English translation.)
    – Meir
    Jul 28, 2020 at 16:44
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    Aha gotcha - thanks all for making that clearer!
    – Dov
    Jul 28, 2020 at 16:54

A similar approach is adopted by Rambam:

ואמר שאי אפשר שלא יהיה לכל אדם עת שיוכל להזיק בו או להועיל ואפילו בדבר מועט

And he said it is impossible that there not be for every man a time in which he can damage or benefit, and even with a small thing. (sefaria translation)

Thus Rambam is asserting that one should not be derisive towards a person, since there does not exist a person in the world from whom one cannot, at one point or another, derive some slight benefit (or harm). This concept is further buttressed by the famous חז"ל that states that every person is required to say, "בשבילי נברא עולם" – “For me the world was created” - i.e. everyone carries a degree of self-worth enough to warrant the creation of the world in their honour!

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    This is not the same as the OP's translation. This Rambam is the standard 'לכל' means 'to any' or 'to all' as in all people, or any person. The OP's translation takes the word 'לכל' to mean 'completely', meaning to one person completely.
    – user6591
    Jul 28, 2020 at 14:56

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