Nine Rules Of
Shmirat HaLashon/Right Speech
Lashon hara is hurtful speech, the making of damaging or derogatory remarks that might cause a person physical, psychological or financial harm. It is lashon hara even when you incriminate yourself in the telling.When working on the fifth point of MinyanSM, it is important to guard your words that you do not gossip and spread lashon hara.
Here are nine rules to remember:
1. It is lashon hara to convey a derogatory image of someone even if that image is true and deserved; it is slanderous (motzi shem ra) to do so when the image is false.
2. It is lashon hara to convey information about people that can cause them physical, psychological or financial harm.
3. It is lashon hara to embarrass people, even in jest, or to tell embarrassing things
about them when they are not present.
4. Lashon hara is not limited to verbal communication; the written word, body language, innuendo, and the like can also be hurtful.
5. It is lashon hara to speak against a community, race, ethnic group, gender, or age group as a whole.
6. Do not relate lashon hara even to your spouse, close friends or relatives.
7. Do not repeat lashon hara even when it is common knowledge.
8. Avoid r'chilut: Do not relate to people negative things others may say about them, for this may cause needless conflict.
9. Do not listen to lashon hara or r'chilut. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
Warning: It is not lashon hara to warn a person about potential dangers resulting from not-as-yet finalized business or personal relationships. Be careful to tell only what you know to be factually true; do not exaggerate; do not pass on hearsay; be clear that your intent is to help the other and not to further your own ends.
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