Ethics

For the week ending 8 November 2008 / 10 Heshvan 5769

Guarding Tongue and Ears

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: I have recently made a serious effort to avoid speaking or hearing lashon hara –the slander and gossip that is so sinful and socially harmful. But I inevitably find myself in the company of fellow workers or neighbors who are indulging in sinful speech. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: One of the greatest challenges to the person who wishes to "guard his tongue" is how to avoid lashon hara without losing friends.

Nevertheless, it is worth making an effort to save yourself and others from this terrible talk by calling their attention to the vulgar aspect of speaking about others. If you find it impossible to change the subject, the right thing to do is to simply excuse yourself from participation in this gabfest by declaring that you have made a personal resolution to not only guard your tongue but your ears as well from being polluted by lashon hara.

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