What Jewish Law Says About Gossip

Loshon Hora” are the Hebrew terms for “evil words” or “forbidden speech.” Rabbi Leib Tropper teaches a class that discusses this concept, known in Western society as “gossip.” Much of the rabbi’s time is spent studying the Torah with individuals or in small groups, but the class that discusses the evils of gossip is the largest of these groups.

The damage that words can cause is unseen and unanticipated until it is done. The words we utter can have greater consequences than were ever intended. This is the reason the Torah has a strict restriction against gossip. The Torah also contains an injunction against gossip as a lesson; Listeners should not believe everything they hear is true.

One of Rabbi Leib Tropper’s prime inspirations is Rabbi Chofetz Chaim (1838-1933), who wrote a sefer (holy book) that was the first attempt to organize and clarify the laws regarding evil talk and gossip.

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