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Four Reasons Why You Should Gossip

Four Reasons Why You Should Gossip


Reason #1:

The media and tabloids have taught us that it is our patriotic duty, enshrined in the “freedom of speech” clause of our Constitution, to shine a bright light on our neighbor’s dirty laundry. No, there is no such thing as privacy; your life is my life, and your mistake is my appetizer. Of course, I must know why she got divorced from her third marriage, plus all the details on the custodial war between them regarding the two-year-old psycho in the middle.

In short: We spend most of our day learning from the media. And they are awesome teachers.

Reason #2:

You are G‑d’s warrior. And just as G‑d cannot tolerate falsehood, so too you, as His fighter, have a moral obligation to search, find and publicize your fellow’s secrets, so that he should not, heaven forbid, receive false respect and feel haughty.

In short: It’s all in the name of G‑d.

Reason #3:

It is a custom amongst families and communities, from way back when, that on many an occasion, especially around the dinner table, a human sacrifice is laid on the table/altar and slaughtered with verbal knives and daggers.

In short: We don’t mess with tradition.

Reason #4:

Because you never heard this story:

Rabbi Shmuel, the fourth rebbe of Chabad, once overheard his two young sons, Zalman and Sholom, arguing in the yard. Upon investigation, he discovered that Zalman had pushed his younger brother into a ditch. “What is the meaning of this?” he asked the boy.

Zalman responded: “It’s not fair. I am the older brother, so I should be taller, but Sholom is taller than me. So I pushed him down, and now I’m taller!”

Said his father: “My son, if you wish to be higher than your brother, why don’t you climb on a chair instead of putting him in a pit?”

So, reason number four is: Why feel bad about the fact that you’re not the best you could be? Why be bothered up about your faults? The easier way is to point out the negative of everyone else. After all, if he could do such a thing, then I’m not so bad after all.

In short: It’s much easier to put down others than to climb up yourself.

So, to sum it up: Without gossip, the unemployment rate in the media industry will hit the roof. National boredom will result in anarchy. And, worst of all, people would become kinder, more honest, and the world would become a better place.

How awful.

Rabbi Levi Avtzon lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, with his wife Chaya and their children. He is associate rabbi and director of outreach at the Linksfield Senderwood Hebrew Congregationl.
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Anonymous Boston, MA April 6, 2016

BH' Rabbi,

Doesn't Baba Metzia 58 B discuss that gossip, can cause great harm to us and more importantly the person we are gossiping about? Can gossiping in your article be beneficial or cause more harm than good? Reply

Anonymous Boston, MA April 6, 2016

Doesn't Baba Metzia 58 B discuss that gossip, can cause great harm to us and more importantly the person we are gossiping about? Can gossiping in your article be beneficial or cause more harm than good. Reply

Zalmy Engel Australia April 3, 2014

Re: Anonymous from NJ Very, very true... :D Reply

Anonymous April 2, 2014

Re: Valerie's response. Ok, Valerie, you say it is unfortunate the people who got sick wouldn't come forward directly, so the person who knows some people got sick should report this to the health department. Did I understand that correctly? What if the place we are talking about is a shul in a persons home. Not so easy to just call .....gossip to... the health dept. as you suggest. Reply

Anonymous April 2, 2014

Amazing article! Thank you for posting! Reply

Anonymous nj April 2, 2014

While reading I was mortified. After, uplifted.
If only all the readers finish the article! Reply

Sarah April 1, 2014

Thank you, thank you, Rabbi! Surely, our harnessing of our tongues, facial expressions, and body language will bring Moshiach. We must appear so boarish to Hashem and Moshiach spewing lashon hara and even more disgusting when we listen to it as dogs who return to eat their own vomit. May we merit to be freed of this addiction that we might become beautiful that Hashem approach us. May Hashem strengthen us immediately and give us perfect clarity. Reply

valerie becker akron April 1, 2014

gossip, or whatever anonymous on 4/1 - gossip hurts. the food place where people became sick -- i think it was a disservice not to quietly talk with the owner(s) so they could remedy the situation. if they chose not to, i would call the health department to make sure no one else got sick. but "gossip"? it's rampant. at shul, the congregation; in the workplace, it's disgusting. even on the street, with looks and/or whispering if someone is a little different. sinful. a story that will always stay with me - a woman went to her rabbi feeling terribly guilty for getting caught gossiping. the rabbi gave her a large bag of feathers and told her to go for a walk and toss the feathers around, then come back. she did it, then came back - asked the rabbi - will this help my guilt???? the rabbi told her, 'no, it's only half done. now take the bag and find every feather, and return with the full bag. needless to say, you can't take it back. Reply

Anonymous April 1, 2014

I admit to my struggle here. Say, you know something, like a place that serves people food. You say, are you going to so and so's for food today? And the other person says, No, not anymore, the food their always makes me sick. Oh, and you suggest they tell the food person that. But no one wants to embarrass the food maker, so instead they just quit going. Then,say, that experience happens three times in a row in one day. Each time, you encouraged the people to go direct to the food makers. Now say, you "think" you know why people are getting sick there, an issue you personally have seen in the kitchen. How would you go to the food maker and say something without that becoming gossip. Reply

Zalmy Australia April 1, 2014

Nice Beautiful Rabbi Avtzon
I always love that kind of article... as Dennis Worthington put it, a little of tongue-in-cheek humor!!! Reply

Shari L. Moidel, Esq. NMB, FL via April 1, 2014

Gossip Unexpected, funny, thoughtful piece. Reply

MitzvahGuy April 1, 2014

Is this not לשון רעה itself?

Am I committing the same crime to a lesser extent by asking that question?

There is no such thing as evil because even darkness has a spark of Hashem at its core. We should be asking:

What is causing so many to feel the need to gosip? Reply

Anonymous Texas April 1, 2014

Still chuckling Oh boy! Lashon hara has met its match!

From my youngest days to now (70+ years young and counting) I've never participated in gossip. It is like someone throwing dirt on me and I do not appreciate it at all.

Sadly, I had to leave my congregation's sisterhood because it was like trying to bathe in a cesspool of gossip. And it is only getting worse now that our rabbi's contract is up for renewal.

Some of the wealthier ladies want a more "prestigious" man to lead us. I let my feelings be known but I'm considered poor--which I am, financially speaking, because of 2008.

Our rabbi is a warn, highly educated, very connected, loving mench. I had to leave another shul in our area because they chased another mench and got...well...they got a replacement.

If they manage to chase this man away, that will have done it for me as far as joining another shul goes. I'm too old for this nonsense. I'm just praying that they'll not be able to chase this man away, if not... Reply

Anonymous toronto April 1, 2014

gossip I do not want to know what is happening in my neighbor's house.That is not the subject of gossip. What does knowing what my neighbor does, have to do with God? Let them live how they want.Those who bring the curses of God should be the subject of gossip.Where is the wall being breached in the Kingdom? This should be the concern of every Jew.Jews should be always watchful because they will suffer for the this. Reply

LRut Bell, Ca. USA March 31, 2014

sarcasm? I would not call it sarcasm, rather, reverse psychology. Sometimes that's the only way to get things through. A good teacher knows how to use allegories and parallelism, even if in reverse.
Well put, Rabbi.
Shalom Reply

NinaB EU March 30, 2014

Comment to gossip issue Dearest Community,

why don't we refer to the Bible and leave it at all??? Have all a nice rest of the day! Shalom :) Reply

Tuvia Dovid Seattle, USA April 6, 2011

As if ... Take a look: The unemployment rate in the media industry didn't just hit but has gone through the roof. National boredom or not, anarchy seems to be a rising threat. I can't say I've seen anyone claiming people are becoming kinder or more honest, much less arguing that the world is a better place (although plenty might argue that it's no worse, either, just different). Bottom line, blaming "the media" for gossip is worse than shooting the messenger. It's like voting, we get what we choose. The more people who choose not to listen to lashon hara, the fewer there will be who choose to indulge in it, much less make it into a commercial product. Reply

Anonymous Weston, FL April 3, 2011

Lashon Hara Excellent article! Interesting, thought-provoking, and well done! Reply

Dennis Worthington Alamogordo, NM (USA) April 3, 2011

Tongue in cheek humor Great article! Often a little tongue-in-cheek humor is a gentler and more effective way of pointing out truth, and affecting change! Reply

Anonymous kalmar April 21, 2010

negative speech This is one of the hardest mitzvot to keep.
Every day it starts with why doesn't he or she ever... then the floodgates open at work, amongst friends, at the board meeting etc. I'm constantly on guard, but sometimes in attempts to defend the person I inadvertently elicit even more. I keep trying! Reply

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