What is Loshon Hara?
Take a look.
Pretend that you were at school. Your classes were boring. Your teacher didn’t stop talking. And your friend was playing with a piece of gum stuck under his desk. He was bored, too. And he wasn’t paying attention. He thought the gum was space goo. It fell to earth from the planet Zorkon. He was worried about an alien invasion.
The teacher called on your friend. He didn’t hear her. He was wrestling with a green space creature. It had a thousand eyes and fangs. She called on him again. He fell out of his seat and answered her. But his answer didn’t make sense. It was wrong. It was crazy. And it was really funny.
The teacher laughed. And you died. It was so funny.
After class you teased your friend. But he didn’t like it. He didn’t think it was funny. But you did. You laughed and laughed.
You told your other friends about it on the bus ride home. They thought it was really funny, too. They laughed. It was funny. You called a few friends that night. You told them what happened. You told them all the details. You told them how he fell out of his chair and didn’t know what was going on. They laughed.
You had a great laugh at his expense. But it didn’t matter because he didn’t know. He wasn’t going to find out. And it was funny. Funny is good, right?
That is Loshon Hara. It is when you say something about another person that he doesn’t like – even if it is true – and even if it is funny. Loshon Hara hurts. It isn’t nice.
Loshon Hara hurts three people.
It hurts the person it was said about. Other people think you are a fool, silly, crazy, or dumb. You can’t defend yourself. And you look bad.
It hurts the person who heard it. You have a bad impression that is based on gossip. And your relationship is tainted by something you didn’t need to know.
It hurts the person who said it. You look bad. Your friend will be upset if he finds out. And you can’t take it back. You can’t fix Loshon Hara.
What happens when you cut a pillow in half on a windy day? The feathers fly everywhere. And no matter how hard you try; you can never gather the feathers back up again. They blow too far away. And they blow too fast.
Loshon Hara is the same. The words travel fast. They hurt and embarrass. And there is nothing you can do about it. It is too late.
If you have to speak about another person, say something nice. Talk about the good things he does. Talk about how smart or helpful he is. And let other people know that he is a great guy.
And if you can’t think of anything nice, don’t say anything. If you want to be funny, you can be funny without making fun of your friend. He doesn’t like it. And you would hate it if he did it to you.
Don’t speak Loshon Hara. It is harder to fix than a pillow. And it makes a much bigger mess.