Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

LASHON HARA PART 6

In the past weeks we have discussed the various prohibitions that relate to harmful speech. However, there are situations in which it is permissible and perhaps even required to speak negatively about others. The Torah tells us, “Do not stand by your brother’s blood.1 ” This means that when our friend is in danger we are obligated to try to help him in any way possible. This commandment is not limited to physical danger - it is also incumbent upon us to prevent our friend suffering financial, psychological, or emotional damage.

Consequently, there are occasions where the only way in which we can protect a person is by informing him of the negative actions or intentions of someone else - this would inevitably involve lashon hara. However, in such situations it is permitted to do so in order to protect our friend, as long as a number of conditions are met2 .

An example of this is if we know that out friend is about to embark on a business venture with a person known to be untrustworthy. In this situation we are obligated to try to save our friend from potential financial loss. In such a scenario it would be permitted to speak negatively about one person in order to save the other if the conditions are all adhered to.

There are other types of situations where it may be permissible to relate negative information: One is where we need to discuss a person’s faults in order to help him improve. For example, it may be necessary to discuss a student in school who is causing disruption and where it is likely that negative aspects of his character will be brought up. Given the right conditions, this is considered a valid reason for speaking critically.

Another possible example is where a person feels the need to vent his feelings by talking about an incident in which someone else caused them some kind of pain. If the goal of where speaking in such a way is to release our feelings and NOT simply to criticize the other person, then one may be allowed to do so. This does not of course mean that we can discuss these feelings on a day-to-day basis to your spouse or friend! Rather it refers to rare occasions in which we really feel hurt by someone and where we feel the need to share our pain with someone close to us.

It is essential to remember that all of the above situations are subject to a number of conditions that MUST be adhered to before one is allowed to speak lashon hara. In the forthcoming weeks, these conditions will be discussed, and it will be apparent that, in practice, one must be very careful about saying anything negative about others even when it seems that it should be permitted.

1 Kedoshim, 19:16.
2 These will be enumerated in future essays.


Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Why Rachel Was Remembered
Rabbi Leib Kelman - 5757

Days of Eight
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Seeking Yitzchak
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Rabbi Frand on Parshas Vayeitzei
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770

It's Good For You
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5763

Accompanying Angles
Shlomo Katz - 5759

ArtScroll

G-d Willing!
Shlomo Katz - 5762

Of Climbing Ladders and Tugging Ropes
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5768

Seekers of HASHEM
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

> Why Eight Days?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Leaving Ya’akov For Yisroel
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Sheepish Leadership
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Spiritual Holiday
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Our Noble Mission
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

A Lesson In Exile & Redemption
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

Modeh Ani… I Am Thankful!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5775



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information