I am a victim of slander. A woman at my office has been saying things about me that make me look bad. I thought that she was my friend, and I am shocked that she would talk about me in such a way! Doesn't Judaism forbid this kind of talk?


I'm sorry to hear about your difficult situation. As you write, speaking bad of others is prohibited by the Torah—it's called lashon hara (the evil tongue)—and it can cause incredible harm to the one speaking it, to those who hear it, and to the one they are speaking about.

I know that advice is much easier to give than to follow. But I believe that if you do what I am about to write, there is a good chance that you will be much happier in the long run.

When dealing with darkness, there are two options: you can attempt to sweep it out the door with a broom, or you can light a candle, and the darkness will vanish. When dealing with the spiritual darkness that lashon hara causes, the best remedies are empathy and respect.

You can administer both these remedies by simply trying your best to judge this person favorably. Assume that there is some misunderstanding. Then do something wild and wonderful: approach her as a friend and speak to her at the right time in a positive tone. G‑d willing, you will manage to quickly sort this out, and you'll have brought more light into the world.

Who knows, maybe you'll even make a new friend.