Anonymous Lashon Hara


90 years ago, a young man was travelling by train to Radin to see the holy Chofetz Chaim. The man noticed a short old man sitting there alone in the carriage and decided to strike up conversation to keep the man company. He told the old man that he was going to see the holy Chofetz Chaim and that he had heard that the Chofetz Chaim was the greatest sage of the generation. The old man turned around and said something that the man found extremely offensive: I live in Radin, and the Chofetz Chaim is not that great – he is an average person. The man was so incensed that legend has it that he hit the old man! As the train pulled into Radin there were crowds ready to greet the train. Apparently there was someone very important on board. The old man got off the train and the crowds came forward to meet him. The young traveller was puzzled, and asked someone in the crowd who this old man was. The response was the one he was least happy to hear: that is the Chofetz Chaim! Immediately the young traveller ran up to the Chofetz Chaim and begged forgiveness for having struck the venerable sage. The Chofetz Chaim was most obliging – it is nothing; from you I learned that one should not even speak Lashon Hara about oneself!

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