Ignore and Rebuke

As in the case of loshon hora, it is forbidden to listen to rechilus spoken by one’s parents, siblings or spouse. Familial closeness is not a reason to share information that promotes strife and ill will among Jews.

When subjected to gossip, one is required not only to distance himself from the conversation, but must also reprove the speaker for violating a Torah commandment. Only when rebuke will cause the gossiper to speak with greater malice should one not offer rebuke.

If one’s employer or colleagues are prone to gossip, one must ignore their conversations. (One is not required to offer reproof if this might cause him to lose his job. Fulfillment of a positive commandment [such as the mitzvah to offer reproof] does not require a monetary risk of such magnitude. However, one should attempt to voice disapproval at some point so as not to be guilty of chanufah (false flattery.)

In all situations, the listener must do his best to stop the gossip – perhaps by tactfully changing the subject.

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© 2020 Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

© 2020 Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation