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Would it be Lashon Hara to say something bad about a business? For example, saying a certain school is bad or a restaurant serves bad food. Would this be considered speaking Lashon Hara?

marked as duplicate by DonielF, Avrohom Yitzchok, mbloch, Danny Schoemann, sabbahillel Aug 7 '18 at 12:02

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The Chafetz Chaim in Hilchos Lashon Hora 5:7 writes:

וְדַע דִּכְשֵׁם שֶׁאָסוּר לְהוֹצִּיא דִּבָּה עַל חֲבֵרוֹ כֵּן עַל חֲפָצָיו (י) אָסוּר לְהוֹצִּיא דִּבָּה {רבנו אליעזר ממיץ בספר יראים}. וְזֶה מָצוּי מְאֹד, בַּעֲוֹנוֹתֵינוּ הָרַבִּים, שֶׁחֶנְוָנִי אֶחָד מוֹצִּיא דִּבָּה עַל נִכְסֵי חֶנְוָנִי אַחֵר וְכָל כְּהַאי גַּוְנָא מִפְּנִי הַקִּנְאָה, וְזוֹ הִיא לָשׁוֹן הָרָע גְּמוּרָה מִדְּאוֹרַיְתָא.

And know that just as it is forbidden to slander one's friend, so is it forbidden to "slander" his possessions (see Rabbeinu Eliezer Mimitz in Sefer Yere'im). And it is very common, in our many sins, that one shopkeeper slanders the wares of another (and so, in other instances of the same kind), out of envy. And this is absolute lashon hara according to the Torah.

Many explain that the reason for the prohibition on Slandering possessions is due to the fact that ultimately, behind every possession, there is a person who owns it. Slandering the item is by extension slandering the person who owns it. See for example R' Nissim Karelitz's Chut Shani 4:4 where h explains the Halachah in this manner.

It can therefore be logically extended to say that speaking slander against a business would be forbidden for the same reason. Since there is almost always a person behind the business, slandering the business would be an externsion of slandering the person behind it.

(Note that this answer is assuming two points: 1) that there is 'a person' behind the company. In most cases there likely is a distinct person who could be named as 'the person behind the company', but perhaps in some cases there is no specific person behind the company (maybe some large, public company?) which would permit speaking Lashon Hora about it. 2) The information being shared falls under the category of Lashon Hora. There are times when one is allowed to share information constructively (Toeles), but that's beyond the scope of this answer, which assuming that the information is not Toeles)


See this Shiur on YU Torah for the sources.

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@torah.org has a useful review of the laws of loshon hora. The following extract is relevant:

Some kinds of statements are not about individuals explicitly, but are Lashon Hara nonetheless. Insulting someone’s possessions ultimately insults the owner as well. Degrading groups of people reflects unfavorably upon each member of the group.

It seems that by saying that a certain school is bad or a restaurant serves bad food, if the responsible individuals can be identified, this will constitute loshon hora.

  • This answer is extremely intetesting, but I wonder: we don't hold corporations to be "groups of people" halacically (in terms, for example of ribbis or owning shares in a corporation not selling hametz over Pesach) ....would a restaurant not fall into the same halachic category? – Josh K Aug 6 '18 at 15:06

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