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Does Lashon Hara Apply to Hashem?

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Rabbi Jonathan Blass

17 Kislev 5763
Question
In Parashat Lech Lecha, Hashem in speaking to Avraham, rebukes Sarah, asking him why she laughed mockingly about the news that she would have a son. Are not Hashem’s words to Avraham, Lashon Hara? Shouldn’t Hashem have rebuked Sarah directly? If we are supposed to learn from the actions of Hashem, who do we explain this?
Answer
It is clear from Rashi’s commentary (quoting Bava Metzia 87) that G-d refrained from telling Abraham anything that could become a cause of friction between him and Sarah. The Ramban explains that Sarah would not have questioned a Divine promise. She did not recognize that the news of Isaac’s birth was coming from messengers of G-d. Similarly, Sforno writes that Sarah believed that what she heard was a human who was blessing her and Abraham with a child and not a Divine promise of one. Maimonides interpretation of Abraham’s encounter with the angels is that it all took place within a prophetic vision of Abraham. Sarah’s laugh was Abraham’s prophetic understanding of the incongruity that Sarah would see in giving birth at an advanced age.
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