I seem to remember that the Rambam speaks about avoiding machlokes (quarrels) and loshon hora (bad speech).

He says something like this: there are three possibilities in any statement about the faults of people and only one of these is said with an intention to hurt. The others are mistaken. Therefore one should always seek to clarify the issue with the person who started the criticism. The chances are only 1 in 3 that there was ill intent.

Where is this Rambam to be found?


1 Answer 1


I asked the question “Where is this Rambam to be found?” and I apologise – it is not a Rambam. The Ohr HaChaim on Vayikro 19 (17) says in part:

ותוכיחנו ועל ידי התוכחה יהיה אחד מב' דברים, או יתן אמתלא להנעשה ואין חטא, או יתחרט על הנעשה וישוב לבל עשות כדבר הזה, והרי הוא כריע כאח לך:

This is expanded on in this Aish article which says

"The Ohr HaChaim explains that there are two likely consequences of speaking to him in a reasonable manner about the pain he has caused. Either he will explain his actions showing that in fact he did not commit a sin and that there was some kind of misunderstanding. Or, he will admit that he did behave incorrectly, and now that he realizes that damage that he caused, he will apologize and vow not to do it again. "

My addition is that the third possibility is of course that he did mean to hurt you. That is the one case in three .

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