Wednesday, January 14, 2009

what is loshon hara?

I never really delved into learning the halachos behind loshon hara, but I do remember a few things I learned in HS:

1. It is not loshon hara when it is about shidduchim.

2. It is not loshon hara if someone is telling on someone who is cheating/lying or can be damaging towards someone else's business, parnassa or community.

So... with the first one, I don't really have anything to say, because that makes sense, but with the second, there are many morons that just *don't* get this halacha. They're stupid and they judge people too favorably. Therefore, they continue to let the damaging person continue in his bad ways, because they don't seem to grasp that he is in fact harmful to them. One can go on and on telling them about how the said person is bad for them, and damaging, but they just won't listen to you.

There is a halacha that says "Don't stand idly by when the blood of your brother is being spilled"

But when you start saying "dude, he's about to stab you" and they don't want to hear it because it's "loshon hara" are you supposed to go on and on repeating yourself like a broken record? Or are you supposed to stand idly by, point the finger and be like "hahaha, jackass, I warned you!" (I'm so one to do that too :))

Well... by halacha, or my interpretation of everything I learned "YES! go on and on repeating yourself!"

In fact, it happened in the navi (can't remember which), someones was told "dude, they're gonna attack you" and they didn't believe him, because it was accepting "loshon hara" and they got attacked.

The problem is, a lot of people turn everything into personal matters. They think that when you complain about someone, then it's personal. It's *not* always personal. In fact, most of the time, the person really *is* a douche bag.

Many fellow people choose to ignore the obvious (douche bag's presence) just because they choose to consider it loshon hara, or are just blinded by warnings because of money/prestige insentive. But shouldn't you accept the "lashon hara" because it will harm you and being cautious is a form of u"shmar nafshecha" (watching after your life)?.


Off the Derech said...

>In fact, it happened in the navi...


comfortablynumb said...

Is this the reason most jews refuse to beleive that the jewish thieves sitting in jail actually belong there

Maldicenza said...


Well, Halachah of Lashon Hara says that when you are being warned with negative information about somebody else, you are not allowed to FIRMLY BELIEVE that this is true. But you are not allowed to ignore it either. What you must do is SUSPECT that the info is true, double CHECK it and make sure to be CAUTIOUS in your final decision about it, in order not be harmed, Chalila.

Moshe said...

Hold on now. So you're not supposed to vehemently deny it and in turn spread Lashon Hara about the person warning you?! I've been led astray!

frumskeptic said...

OTD- thanx :)

cn- yup. lol. that is why. naivety is in our genes.

mald- Usually people don't double check. they focus on the rewards and the fact that they're generally lazy factors.

moshe- hahaha :-)

Dave said...

I was going to answer "(c) One of my favorite hobbies".

Mikeinmidwood said...

#3: you are allowed to say loshon hara when you dont reveal who it is. This is the one most people cant remember.

Maldicenza said...


==> Moshe:
We are talking about 2 different things. I wrote about the internal reaction of the person being warned. You are asking about the external reaction, namely towards the person who is coming to warn you.

The vehement reaction you mention is good if the other person came deliberately to you to harm somebody else. But if he/she is aware of Lashon Hara rules and came to warn you about a potential harm to you and NOT because of hate to the other person, in that case you ar NOT supposed to yell at him/her.

==> Mike:
Well, make sure that "reveal" includes hints, writings, gestures, and any other similar tricks. I would beware of this as it sometimes happens that you think you are hidding the identity but the listener understands it anyway. And in the case you mention, maybe the person speaking does not mean to harm any third party (even not the general category to which it belongs) so it's not really Lashon Hara. Beware anyway from in-between situations because they might be Avak Lashon Hara which is quite bad too....

Moshe said...

Dude, you totally missed my point.
Ever heard of sarcasm?

Anonymous said...

double CHECK it

And presumably the way you double check it is to talk to anyone and everyone about it to see if "they heard" :-)