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Foul Language

What does Torah say about use of foul language and swearwords? Please, mention the source.


The verse in Isaiah 9 refers explicitly to the use of foul language, stating the God does not act compassionately with the people on account of the foul language that is on their tongues. In a general sense, the instruction “you shall be holy” clearly negates the use of swearwords and foul language, which is hardly being holy.

The Talmud (Kesubos 8b) takes a very severe approach to foul language, stating that for one who uses obcene language, even seventy years’ worth of positive decrees can be turned into negative.

As a general point, the faculty of speech is considered, according to many Torah sources, to be the central human faculty, which is why sins of speech, such as lashon hara, are so stringent. Keeping one’s mouth from foul speech is therefore of particular importance.

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