Is it lashon harah to publicly criticize or attack those who you perceive as misleading people/leading people astray? For example, Rabbi Natan Slifkin has a blog in which he’s publicly criticized Yaron Reuven and Yosef Mizrachi, could this be problematic from a lashon harah perspective or no? If so, what are the exceptions to the rule, and what criteria would determine when someone is a genuine spiritual danger to others? Does the Chofetz Chaim talk about this?

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    In that case, wouldn't it be lashon hara to call out Rabbi Slifkin?
    – shmosel
    Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 19:03
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    The Chofetz Chaim has multiple sections where he discusses permitted lashon hara, e.g., against the wicked, apikorsus or instigators of controversy, as well as pre-conditions, see Hilchot LH klal 8. Of course the challenge is defining whether or not the case in question falls within these laws. This should be done under guidance of a Rav. See also judaism.stackexchange.com/a/138036/11501
    – mbloch
    Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 4:14

1 Answer 1


Subject to certain conditions if the Loshon Hora is being spoken to keep people away from the influence of those who lead others astray not only is it allowed, it is a mitzvah. Ask your LOR if it is relevant. Without discussing any specific people or situations the Chofetz Chaim Shemiras Haloshon 4:10 writes

אִם רוֹאֶה אָדָם בִּאֶחָד מִדָּה מְגֻנָּה, כְּגוֹן: גַּאֲוָה אוֹ כַּעַס אוֹ שְׁאָרֵי מִדּוֹת רָעוֹת אוֹ שֶׁהוּא בַּטְלָן מִתּוֹרָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה, נָכוֹן לוֹ לְסַפֵּר דָּבָר זֶה לִבְנוֹ אוֹ לְתַלְמִידָיו וּלְהַזְהִירָם, שֶׁלֹּא יִתְחַבְּרוּ עִמּוֹ, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִלְמְדוּ מִמַּעֲשָׂיו, כִּי הָעִקָּר מַה שֶּׁהִזְהִירָה הַתּוֹרָה בְּלָשׁוֹן הָרָע, אֲפִלּוּ עַל אֱמֶת, הוּא אִם כַּוָּנָתוֹ לְבַזּוֹת אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ וְלִשְׂמֹחַ לִקְלוֹנוֹ, אבָל אִם כַּוָּנָתוֹ לִשְׁמֹר אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יִלְמֹד מִמַּעֲשָׂיו פָּשׁוּט דְּמֻתָּר וּמִצְּוָה נַמֵּי אִיכָּא {גם כן יש}. אַךְ בְּאֹפֶן זֶה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה נִרְאֶה, דְּמִצְוָה לְהַמְסַפֵּר לְבָאֵר הַטַּעַם, לָמָּה מְסַפֵּר בִּגְנוּתוֹ שֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִטְעֶה הַשּׁוֹמֵעַ לְהַתִּיר עַל יָדוֹ יוֹתֵר מִזֶּה, וְגַם שֶׁלֹּא יָבוֹא לִתְמֹהַ עָלָיו, שֶׁהוּא סוֹתֵר אֶת עַצְּמוֹ, כִּי פַּעַם יֹאמַר לוֹ, שֶׁאָסוּר לְסַפֵּר אֲפִלּוּ עַל אֱמֶת, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר לְקַמָּן , שֶׁמִּצְוָה רַבָּה הִיא לְהַפְרִישׁ בָּנָיו הַקְּטַנִּים מִּזֶּה הֶעָוֹן, וְעַתָּה הוּא מְסַפֵּר בְּעַצְּמוֹ, .

if one sees a bad trait in a person, such as haughtiness or anger or other evil traits or that he neglects Torah study and the like, it is proper for him to tell this to his son or to his students, and to exhort them not to keep company with him so as not to learn from his deeds. For the primary Torah's exhortation against lashon hara, even when what is said is true, applies when one's intent is to shame his friend and to rejoice in his shame. But if his intent is to guard his friend against learning from the sinner's ways, it is obviously permitted, and is a mitzvah. Yet, in this case and the like, it seems that it is a mitzvah for the teller to explain the reason that he is speaking demeaningly of his friend, so that the listener not err in permitting even more leniency than this, and also so that the listener not come to wonder why the speaker can contradict himself. At one time he tells him that it is forbidden to speak lashon hara even if it is true and here he himself seems to be doing so

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