Link: “Lashon Hara – Director’s Cut HD Remaster” by Shel

Original post found at: https://cohost.org/shel/post/29079-lashon-hara-direct

Very good post about an element of Jewish law called lashon hara. Read the whole post, because it deserves it, but the crux of lashon hara is: don’t just shit-talk people non-constructively. That is, if you have a disagreement with someone, your first port of call should be to take it up privately with them, not to talk shit about them behind their back. Secondly, if someone’s done or said something wrong in the past, but they’re genuinely remorseful and aren’t continuing that same harm, you should not keep bringing that wrong action up. You’re not obliged to forgive them yourself, but you are obliged not to try to cause harm to them purely out of revenge.

The post does talk about cases where “shit-talking” may not rise to the level of lashon hara. If it’s not feasible to raise a disagreement with someone privately (e.g. because they’re a politician or major businessperson, rather than someone you know personally), you’re not expected to try to before you’re allowed to criticise them to others. And “whisper networks”, where you’re actually trying to protect others from ongoing harm by criticising someone who is still engaging in malign activity (like abuse), are also fine.

I feel like this is an eloquent explanation of a practice I’ve been trying to implement in my own life anyway, and I really appreciate it being there. We need ways to de-escalate conflict – an off-ramp, if you will – in a way that isn’t just sticking one’s head in the sand, pretending harms never happened, etc.. People can learn and grow from their mistakes and it’s better for our communities, our extended families, etc. if we have the grace to accept that. This is not to say that we’re obliged to forgive people who aren’t remorseful (or even people who are!) just that our goal should be de-escalation wherever possible. And not shit-talking behind people’s backs, which achieves nothing.