Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Problem Plaguing Our People-- Shmiras HaLashon... A Call for Help

I have this potentially problematic predicament that plagues me periodically (How's that for alliteration?)
Anyhow, it always starts with a simple conversation. It could be with a friend, in the hallway, at the Shabbos table, over the phone, on Gchat-- you name it, I have had it.
And it doesn't even seem so bad.
At first.
I start telling an innocent, generic story or anecdote-- something someone mentioned to me, and I relate it to someone else, NAMES FREE (that doesn't make me less guilty of passing on news but...) then comes the big question: Who is it? or Who said it? or Where did you hear it from?
So me, being a clever little chicky, answer ' A little birdie told me."
Yet, for whatever reason, that doesn't fly. They MUST have names. Names, names, names, and I try SO hard to keep quiet. I don't want to say. I don't have to say! Yet for some reason, I MUST say. And only when I do is the yentish curiosity satisfied, only then do they stop pestering me... and only then do I feel like falling into the floor. I feel sick for succumbing to the pressure of revealing a piece of information that didn't NEED to be shared.
A few weeks ago at an assembly my teacher was talking to the school about tznius. We were sitting in a circle on the floor and she spoke to us giving us straightforward facts about covering the shok and what Torah dictates. And then she quoted an unnamed source about an additional piece of information about tznius. Now this teacher, I respect WHOLE-HEARTEDLY. She is smart, funny, intelligent, and is NOT one to mince words.
After she spoke, a riot broke out.
She can't say things like that!
Who is her source!
It's not right.
So I asked "What's the problem?"
Her source.
And I replied, "Why does it matter? She is a respectable person- would she quote some moron of the street? And if you wanted to know her source so you could contact them to inquire further about what he said (she said it was a Rabbi) would you really? If it were R' Elyashiv, would you call to say you had a problem? NO! You wouldn't! You just want to satisfy your own desire of knowing WHO said it. WHAT he said doesn't matter. Who HE is does. But it shouldnt."
I know that my teacher would only quote reputable sources. Obviously there was a reason her source remained nameless. Maybe because whoever said it would dictate how the girls accepted it. But it doesn't matter. If he is a Rav, his Torah is HASHEM's Torah, so why should we stoop so low to busy-body around about WHO he is.
This has been on my mind a lot lately.
Stories need names. I won't say I am Loshon Hora free. I'm not. But it bugs me to know end when names ALWAYS have to be given... and what's worse than that, is the shamed feeling I feel when I TRY to change the topic of Loshon Hora to something more neutral and people get all HUFFY and disregard my desperate attempt to change conversation.
I know about all the Shmiras Halashon campaigns. I have read books, heard speakers, watched plays and even seen/experienced its effects... yet has any real change been accomplished? Is Moshiach any closer? Have we really watched our words, guarded our lips? Can we... can I go to sleep at night knowing I didnt harm another person with my words?
No. And I don't think anyone out there can say they didn't.
And that... is so sad.

What can we do to make change? How can we solidify all our Machsom Lfi's and learning groups to make REAL change to bring Moshiach? How can reading Shmiras Halashon, A Lesson A Day, Purity of Speech, Positive Word Power and the countless other books on the topic affect us if the words we READ only stop at our eyes, and our lips somehow keep going?

How can we save ourselves when we don't even care to save each other?

1 comment:

  1. Powerful. I think everyone must ask themselves these questions.
    The books/seforim are there just to help us make the positive changes but it takes a long time to actually master the halachos and implement real changes in our lives. The yetzer hara is very smart and has many ways to trap us-we just have to learn how to fight back and remain strong so we can accomplish and achieve.

    ReplyDelete

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