Monday, March 31, 2008

Gossipping

I was particularly interested to read, a few days ago, about the Jewish concept of gossipping, or Loshon Hara. Spellings of this phrase vary, BTW, if you choose to Google it :-)

Apparently there are very few observant strict Orthodox Jewish bloggers because of the Biblical prohibition against Loshon Hara, the idle repeating of negativity -even if true- about others. It does not preclude the necessary reporting to authorities of witnessed wrong-doing, however.

Jewish tradition teaches that gossipping damages and ultimately hurts no less than three people:-

1/
The person speaking, because he/she gradually becomes used to looking past the image of God in each human being and focusing on faults instead, and also because gossipping will raise doubts in his/her listeners' minds as to what that person may also be saying about them behind their back. It is also a misuse of the God-given gift of speech.

2/
The person being spoken about, whose reputation and character is being assassinated comprehensively and possibly permanently, as words, once spoken, cannoy easily be retracted, whether the topic turns out to be true or false. Once Pandora's box is open, the contents cannot be caught and squeezed back in as though the event had never happened ! The person's marriage, family life, job, position in society can be destroyed in one fell swoop by a few idle words.

3/
The person being spoken to. In Jewish Law, this person is actually **most** at fault. All that person did was LISTEN - yet this person had the power to stop the conversation, turn it to a different and more profitable path, or simply refuse to listen to the gossip, yet chose to do nothing, and therefore allow someone's character to be defamed.

I bow my head in shame at this point.
I am guilty of this.
My husband is not guilty of Loshon Hara. He is always the first to try to put the best possible interpretation on someone's behaviour, and he does not gossip and will turn a conversation aside if it descends to gossip, and I honour him greatly for that.
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1 comment:

MaggieClitheroe said...

This is an interesting post, and very thought provoking! It is hard not to say negative things about people, sometimes, but it's true one shouldn't listen to them either!
By the way, please excuse my extreme ignorance, but when is your Easter Sunday this year? - I keep checking in to find out whether you have celebrated the Lord's rising yet!
God Bless, and thanks for that post.