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Understanding lashon harah, gossip, slander and other kinds of harmful speech. What kind of talk is forbidden and what kind is permitted.

The Ethics of Speech

The Ethics of Speech

Jewish Ethics: Lesson 1

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The Ethics of Speech: Jewish Ethics: Lesson 1

Understanding lashon harah, gossip, slander and other kinds of harmful speech. What kind of talk is forbidden and what kind is permitted.
Lashon Harah
Negative Speech
Rabbi Yehuda Leib Zarchi is co-director of Chabad @ Laureleaf in Thornhill, Ontario.
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Lynton M Seacliff Park February 11, 2017

Part 2 response to "warnings" by Anonymous “Naming and shaming”:
My comment here may seem controversial and may not sit easily with you, but I have reviewed it in light of my best understanding of lashon hara and it is not my obligation to be politically correct or to give you an answer that is merely comfortable.
I disagree with your son’s school policy of sending out emails with lists of paedophile names. I am not familiar with NY law but from what we know about lashon hara any “naming and shaming” law is likely to have very poor consequences and should not be unquestioningly supported:
see: epublications.bond.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1088&context=hss_pubs. “This article examines both public and private notification to conclude from the few studies available that they fail to achieve their goals and lead to significant unintended consequences” (Line 5 Page 2).
Anyone who doubts the “arrows” of lashon hara are as deadly as murder may reconsider their position after reading such an article. Reply

Lynton M Seacliff Park February 11, 2017

Part 1 response to "warnings" by Anonymous Your post has gone unanswered for 5 years so i am going to give it a shot. You asked two questions but because we have limited allowance for comment I will respond in two parts:
1. What if you "know" something about someone who is "dangerous"? I think the gist of R. Zarchi's presentation would hint that your behavior should be circumscribed three-fold: by your motivation, your knowledge and your audience.
Your motivation must be beyond reproach. You must foremost be acting from genuine concern for the welfare of your audience (who may [and even preferably should be] only one person).
Your knowledge should be certain and not hearsay. Preferably you are directly acquainted with the “danger” or you must implicitly trust your source of information.
Your audience must be, in your best considered assessment, at imminent risk or directly threatened by the so-called “dangerous” person.
If you have doubts in any of these areas you should consult an expert (rabbi) before you open your mouth. Reply

Anonymous ny, ny December 28, 2011

warnings I have just started listening to this series. I agree we are all guilty of this sin. Maybe you will answer this question in future lessons but my question is: What if you know something about someone who is dangerous ie. who is a drug pusher, pedophile, murderer. Wouldn't warning people about it stop people from being harmed? Is that considered gossip? or just warning someone of impending harm? /Also, what is your opinion of the NY Law surounding the location of convicted pedophiles in your neighborhood. My sons school district e mails us with dangerous pedophiles that we should be aware of. I personally think its a good idea and I would want to know if
someone dangerous is hiding in sheeps clothing. Reply

Anonymous Mesa, Arizona, USA December 7, 2011

The Ethics of Speech Thank you Rabbi Zarchi. This was a very interesting lesson, I will be looking forward to the continuation for one can learn a lot from the ways of Torah. Reply

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