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Posts Tagged ‘loshon hara’

Every day, something to think about and to learn!

In November, there’s a big push in Jewish outreach and education to teach people to read Hebrew. I am going to be signing up for one of these classes because that is one of the things my rabbi said was very important. Since I can’t afford to pay for regular classes, a crash course seems great. Get the basics, and practice.

In today’s Jewish Treats, the theme of choosing your friends wisely is revisited.

The Company You Keep
Immediately following the morning blessings, there is a short prayer that asks God for protection from “arrogant people and arrogance itself, from a bad person, a bad companion, a bad neigbor, a bad mishap, a destructive adversary, a harsh trial and a harsh opponent…”

In this short prayer, we learn the importance of guarding our social environment. And while this supplication requests that God not lead us into situations in which we might be tempted to err, we are, after all, free to choose our circle of friends and acquaintances. It is therefore extremely important to think carefully about the people with whom we associate.

It may seem obvious to say that we should choose friends who share our values. Yet people often find themselves in difficult situations when a social acquaintance acts in a less than admirable manner. What does one do about a cousin who shoplifts or a co-worker who gossips?

Ideally, we should separate from that person. Such was the example set by Abraham when he chose to separate from his nephew Lot after discovering that Lot allowed his herds to graze on other people’s property. (Genesis 13)

Unfortunately, separating yourself from such situations is not always feasible. Sometimes the best we can do is to try to avoid them (e.g. not going shopping with a would-be shoplifter or staying away from gossipers). Since walking away from such situations can take a great deal of emotional strength and fortitude, and is sometimes impossible, we ask God to help us avoid them in the first place.”

This goes into what I was talking about yesterday, choosing to avoid friends who are gossips because I know that it encourages me to slip into bad habits. But what about when you are with people and the gossip starts? What do you do? Stay silent and hope your obvious discomfort discourages the behavior? Forget yourself and dive into the juicy details? Speak up and mention that you are not comfortable gossiping? I think maybe I’ll make the commitment to take door #3 and try to have the courage to speak up. We’ll see how that goes.

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