Question:

Wondering if there r issues with reading websites or newspaper articles like … in terms of loshon hara etc…..
Are stories like these a problem to read about on theses even frum websites?

Answer:

There definitely are issues, and one should refrain from reading these articles or posts, and you would be well advised to stick away from it entirely. Let me give you an example of a website that publishes loshon hora, but it would be similar to a “frum” newspaper that publishes loshon hora.

Needless to say, to publishing lashon hora is a tremendous sin, and those who publish it are causing thousands of people to sin, with lashon hora, machlokes. and embarrassing these people. Worse of all, these sites are making a tremendous chillul H-shem, by bringing out and publicizing embarrassing things about frum people and people that represent torah. They are directly causing people to look down at torah scholars, torah people, and what they stand for.

Regarding reading the lashon hora (which most probably has untruths added inside them which make it motzei shem ra), yes there are numerous issues.

  1. Firstly, it is controversial if it is permitted to read lashon hora, even if it is common knowledge, and known to everyone.
  2. Secondly it is absolutely forbidden to be mekabel lashon hora and believe it, and let’s be honest now, most people will believe at least parts of the story that they are reading, (like most people, erroneously think, “if it is written by a reporter it must be true”!) Therefore, the person is transgressing accepting lashon hora.
  3. The third issue is that even if the person did read it, it is still forbidden to tell it to anyone else. This is because we may not knowingly spread even commonly known lashon hora.
  4. It is also forbidden to add anything to the story. Unfortunately these sites have place for everyone to show that they were mekabel the lashon hora, and to comment and vent their anger and wrath at the Rosh Yeshiva, Rebbe, torah institution, or osek b’tzorchei tzibbur, that is the current topic of ridicule. They all believe the story and are spreading it and adding to its “negativeness”, and adding to the embarrassment of the poor korban of the day.
  5. Another issue is that by clicking on the link, you are strengthening the publisher of the lashon, who is a choteh. by publishing the lashon hora. The more clicks that the article or site gets, it gives them more publicity, and more power to charge more for advertising etc. therefore it is mesayeya bidei ovedei aveiro, (and according to some poskim one should not even visit the site at all).
  6. Another issue with reading these articles the chilul H-shem aspect. Unfortunately, the person that did the negative action caused a chillul H-shem, but he didn’t mean it, however these websites or newspapers are pumping up the chillul H-shem and smearing the embarrassment of H-shem and his torah for the whole world to see! They do it, not only to frum people, but to Roshei Yeshiva, Rabbonim, Yeshivos, Bais Yackov’s, Seminaries, and all different whole parts of Klal Yisroel, and no one stature or level of yiras shomayim will help them to be is spared from being the topic of their lashon hora. The mere reading of these articles is in itself spreading a chilul H-shem. I once heard a big Rov say, “Talking about a chillul H-shem is also a chillul H-shem”. To explain this, imagine a person who his son was caught doing something very embarrassing. He was caught and all the people of his shul heard about it. Then someone went and posted it on the internet, created blogs about it, so that other people can discuss, and dissect exactly what the disgusting act the person did. Then others joined in with their condemnation of this person. Then it became the topic of talk shows, so that people can chew and chew and chew over it. What will the father feel like when he sees the blogs and hears everyone discussing and talking about his embarrassment! This is exactly what we are doing when we discuss something that is a chillul H-shem- an embarrassment to H-shem. By discussing it, publicizing it, and even reading about it, we are magnifying the embarrassment of H-shem Himself, and the embarrassment of His torah, His torah teachers, and His beloved servants.

We need the frum websites to spread good information about frum yidden and not to spread chillul H-shem and lashon hora for all the world including the goyim to see. This doesn’t mean that everything on the site is bad, but if you want to keep away from it because of all the lashon hora on it, the Chofetz Chaim would agree to you.

 

Sources:

Chofetz Chaim 2-4,9, Chelkas Binyomin Klal 7 ftn 10, Shut Lechofetz Bchayim 1-18, conversation with R’ Y. Wainman shlit”a author of  Mishnas Yisroel, and other poskim.

Tags: lashon hora

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