Torah, Lashon Hara (Gossip) and the Internet

The role of Judaism's rich ethical tradition surrounding lashon hara (gossip, loose language) will be explored within the context of today's flurry of tweets, texts, emails and social media platforms.

There are numerous examples in the Torah of gossip and slander. The Talmud addresses these actions, and sets out a strict code of conduct to protect us from this barrage of "verbal arrows."

In this session, we will follow the thread from Torah, to Talmud, to the advent of "new technologies." Our ancient rabbis debated whether it was appropriate for the carrier of a sealed letter to open it, and share its contents. The thread also carries us to the advent of the party line telephone, and ultimately email, text messaging and various social media platforms.

Do Judaism's strict laws against lashon hara still apply in a largely unregulated world of Internet based communication? Do we have an expectation that our emails, texts and posts remain private?

What can we do -- or not -- to manage the flow of lashon hora within our lives, and within the lives of those that we influence?

Arts Literature & Media, Text Study


Irwin Huberman

Congregation Tifereth Israel