When Is It Considered Gossip?

gossipWhen is it considered Gossip?

The Gossiper stands in Syria and kills in Rome. — Palestinian Talmud, Peah 1:1

Unlike armaments, which can hurt only those within their immediate vicinity, verbal “shots” can inflict ruinous injuries from a distance. (…the telephone makes it particularly easy to do so.) — Jewish Wisdom, Telushkin

“Do not go about as a talebearer among your people.” — Lev. 19:16

This is perhaps the most unheeded law of the Torah’s 613 commandments. This law tells us that we are forbidden to say something negative about another person, even if it is true, unless the person to whom you are speaking vitally needs the information. Jewish law also forbids slander.

In the case of crimes and abuses against women and children, however, it is imperative to speak out to prevent others from becoming victims of the same crime. In cases of abuse, to not speak out and to take action to stop it, would make one a partaker in the abuse. Don’t confuse exposing crimes and abuses as gossip. Religious leaders use gossip to silence, shame and shun, allowing for the abuses to continue. Victims use speaking out to protect others from such abuse and to release themselves from the bondage and guiltiness that silence puts them under. To be silent makes one a partaker in the guilt of future victims of the abuse. To expose it, frees them from that guiltiness and bondage and, allows for healing to take place while exposing the abuser and the abuses. Don’t be afraid to speak out about abuse and abusers. It may save someone else from having their life destroyed by it (the abuse or crime) and them (the perpetrators of the abuse).

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