Beit Midrash

  • Jewish Laws and Thoughts
  • Lashon Hara
To dedicate this lesson

When is Lashon Ha-ra permissible (or obligatory)?


Rabbi Stewart Weiss

At the close of our Sedra, Miriam is punished for speaking negatively against Moshe, who had separated from Zipora, due to Moshe’s need to be available & in a state of ritual purity at all times. (Note that Miriam spoke only to their brother Ahron). Only in certain situations may one speak (ill) about others: 1) In discussing X with someone (e.g. therapist, dr) who can help X’s problem; 2) To prevent Y from being harmed by X (e.g. a sexual molester or con man); 3) To help end a dispute that harms the wider community; 4) To help others learn from Y’s mistakes (e.g. "Don’t invest with X like Y did; Y lost all his money"). Even then, one should utilize other means if those are available; the speaker should be acting out of genuine concern for the subject or others & not to exact revenge or to shame the subject; the information should be true & accurate. If there is the possibility to speak to the subject directly, rather than about him, then that is the preferable option.
את המידע הדפסתי באמצעות אתר