Friday, August 01, 2014

The Deadliest Weapons

The goal of this blog is to encourage some healthy speech at your Shabbat table. Please print and share.


Try starting with these 2 questions at your table:

1. Do you know the difference between slander and libel?

2. How true does gossip it need to be to be OK?

A woman told her friend a rumor about someone. She later felt bad and went to the rabbi to ask for advice on what to do.

"Take a down pillow outside, cut it open and scatter the feathers in the wind."

She did so, then returned to the rabbi.

"Now go collect all the feathers."

“But that's impossible! The feathers have scattered who knows where!”

“Now you understand why lashon hara is so evil. The defamation scatters far and wide and the damage that can never be undone.”

One of the great Jewish urban legends is that speech is only "evil" if it's false.

In fact, lashon hara is "ra" (evil) even if it's true.

(There are exceptions, but the ethical rules are very narrow.)

When it's false, it's just that much worse.

“Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it." - Jonathan Swift, 1710

“Falsehood will fly from Maine to Georgia, while truth is pulling her boots on." - Portland Gazette, 1820

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” - Mark Twain, ca. 1880

"A lie gets halfway around the world before truth has a chance to get its pants on." - Winston Churchill, ca. 1930

Question for your table: What's worse - speaking lashon hara or listening to it?

Shabbat Shalom

PS - Have you told your favorite teachers about the Amazing Nature for Teachers program?

PPS - For last week's blog on the Gaza war, click here

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