Let Them Talk: The Mitzvah to Speak Lashon Hara

By Mark Dratch

JSafe: The Jewish Institute Supporting an Abuse-Free Environment, January 19, 2006

The prohibition of Lashon Hara (slander, gossip, tale-bearing) is often used as a tool to silence abuse victims and their advocates from speaking out against abusers. Rabbi Mark Dratch questions the notion that victims of abuse are prohibited from speaking of the mistreatment and exploitation that they suffered. He argues that victims of abuse need to speak out and that their supporters need to speak out in order to help them. Furthermore, the community needs to speak out in order to hold the perpetrators responsible and in order to protect other innocents from potential harm. All must be diligent in meeting the conditions required for such speech, including knowledge of or verification of the facts, proper motivation, the curbing of personal animosities, no exaggeration, and the like. He states that each of us needs to recommit ourselves to protecting the physical and spiritual welfare of women, children, and men; safeguarding the integrity of the social fabric of the Jewish community; and securing the honor of Torah and God's very Name.

Topic: Halakha, Morality, Jewish Law, Language, Communal Responsibility, Justice, Ethics, Abuse

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Genre: Responsum

Coverage: United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Dratch, Mark. Let Them Talk: The Mitzvah to Speak Lashon Hara. JSafe: The Jewish Institute Supporting an Abuse-Free Environment. 19 January 2006: http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=9957


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