Words Are Very Powerful

Speech is the tool of creation. The ability to communicate one's thoughts and feelings through words -- is unique to human beings. It can be a tremendous blessing, but it's also ripe for abuse. Through speech we can build individuals and the world. We can praise, encourage, and give others confidence. By making others feel important, we build them up, as if to say, "Your existence is necessary".

On the other hand, speech can also be used to destroy. Words like "you're worthless" wipes out a person’s self-esteem. As King Solomon says, "Life and death are in the hands of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21). The Talmud (Arachin 15b) explains that negative speech is even worse than a sword ― since it kills many people, even at great distance.

Beyond the individual destruction, we have all seen the power of gossip ― a vicious rumor ― to tear apart relationships, families, and even entire communities.

Just as the Torah prohibits speaking Loshon Hara, we are prohibited from even listening to it. (Which makes sense ― if I can’t listen, then you can't speak it) By listening to negative talk we fuel the viciousness and become desensitized to its effect on others.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that the Torah prohibition of negative speech is limited only to saying falsity and untruth. But this is not so. Lying falls under a separate prohibition, expressed in (Exodus 20:13, 23:7).

Loshon Hara, meanwhile, is the prohibition against saying anything negative or derogatory about another person ― even when it’s true!

The Talmud says that the human body was constructed to help a person refrain from Loshon Hara. The teeth and lips serve as "gates" to regulate what emerges from our mouth, while the tongue lies in a horizontal resting position. Furthermore, while humans have two eyes, two ears and two nostrils ― we have only one mouth as a reminder to minimize chatter.

So what happens if we inadvertently hear Loshon Hara? The Talmud says that we should not automatically accept it as being true. Rather, the rule is "innocent until proven guilty."

Lashon Hara Part 1 - By Rabbi Meir Ben Abu שליט׳א


Lashon Hara Part 2 - By Rabbi Meir Ben Abu שליט׳א



Lashon Hara is so powerful - By Rabbi Meir Ben Abu: