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Wait Till You Hear This…!

This is something that challenged me  …I need to always be on guard with my tongue.  From America’s Rabbi  …Daniel Lapin.  I met the Rabbi at EntreLeadership in November 2008.  For sure his spiritual beliefs will not match up with all of us although I believe the principles he speaks of make sense.  Take what you can and leave the rest. 

What do you think?

Thought Tools

Wait Till You Hear This…! 


June 25, 2009                            3th day of Tamuz, 5769                   

Forward to a Friend

Have you seen the latest episode of Gossip Girl? Read National Enquirer lately? How about People Magazine?  Decrying gossip may seem quaint today, but with over one hundred magazines, TV shows and websites selling gossip; maybe we ought to remind ourselves of its dark side. 


The more we value something the more specific we are in discussing it. For instance, to me, flour is just flour.  However, if I’m shopping for my wife I am forced to differentiate between unbleached, bread, whole wheat and various other types.


The Bible contains many different words for ways to communicate because it places such high value on human connection.  These words are not interchangeable; each has a specific meaning.


Leviticus 19:16 is commonly translated as:


Do not go about spreading slander among your people…


The Hebrew literally reads as:


Do not peddle gossip among your people…


Everyone agrees that slander is destructive and Biblical laws prohibiting it spawned similar civil laws.  But gossip isn’t slander, right?  Gossip is neutral and harmless, isn’t it? 


Unlike any other language, Hebrew words magically intertwine with one another in a mystical dance.  Every word in the Bible sends the student on a search for words that share the same roots and letters.  Thus we get a clue to gossip’s essence by noting that the Hebrew for gossip, R-CH-L also means peddler.  Ancient Jewish wisdom tells us that both these words also relate to R-G-L, the root word for spying.


In other words, gossiping, peddling, and spying are closely related ideas.

This helps us understand the reference to “peddle” in Leviticus 19:16.  Peddlers convey goods from one person to another just as spies carry information.  Similarly, gossips transmit details about one person to another. Peddlers provide economic benefit while spies can be either heroes or villains depending on your loyalties. Think Nathan Hale vs. Benedict Arnold.


What about the gossip? The prohibition in Leviticus seems to suggest it is always evil.  But how do we define gossip? After all, if we never talk about other people, we might never discover someone needing our help.  We could become utterly alienated from our families and communities.

 What turns positive communication into negative gossip?


The Hebrew reveals the answer.  While earning his living, a peddler does benefit his customer by selling him a desired product at a fair price.  The patriotic spy engages in dangerous clandestine surveillance in order to help his country, but we have contempt for the amoral spy who engages in his activity for self enrichment. 


So here is the foolproof monitoring system you need to install somewhere between your brain and mouth.  Before speaking about another person ask yourself, “Who am I trying to benefit?”  If your answer is “me,” you can be sure you are about to gossip.


Perhaps you want to fill an awkward silence, or perhaps you want to draw attention to yourself and appear important.  Either way, if you breach a confidence or invade someone’s privacy, you are crossing the line from communication into gossip. 


The gossiper always finds an audience but all recognize that he is not someone in whom to confide..  Gossiping reduces you in the eyes of others.


Gossip shatters relationships.  The victim often discovers who spoke about him and then shuns that person forever. 


Third, listening to gossip not only coats you with a slimy, subconscious sense of reduced worth but it forever changes your opinion of the person under discussion.


Decrying gossip is far from outdated.  It is one of the most important self-improvement steps you can undertake.  Banning gossip at your family’s dinner table and making your workplace a gossip-free-zone, will improve productivity in both arenas.


Speech is one of the most critical ways we reveal ourselves to others.  

4 Responses to “Wait Till You Hear This…!”

  1. You cannot help but be reminded of your own actions and actions of others after reading….

    Would it not bring back that empty feeling in your stomach as when it was the first time you learned of someone gossiping about you? Or even perhaps when you were mistaken for gossiping, when in reality you were truthfully not? If you know how it feels, and know what heartache it can bring; Why would you do it to others? Work place, company events, even outside the workplace with colleagues on a day off, with friends or family– it should never be deemed appropriate.

    Now, your tongue can easily be mistaken, especially with today’s technology. There’s FB/Myspace/Twitter/Email/Txts…people take to heart your statuses/take them out of context, when in all truth they meant nothing at all or in correlation to someone else or perhaps a joke. We need to be reminded that even though harmless to us, it may be harmful to another by their own insecurities/reservations/misunderstanding. These sites are good tools to communicate with others, but often become gossip baths.

    Sure, we all make mistakes, we were made this way, but a constant behavior of this such I will not stand for.

  2. Gossip is very negative for all. It damages relationships, hurts/humiliates the people involved, drops productivity and causes problems.

    I happily quote: if you don’t have anything nice to say about__________ then don’t say anything at all!

    Good tip:So here is the foolproof monitoring system you need to install somewhere between your brain and mouth. Before speaking about another person ask yourself, “Who am I trying to benefit?” If your answer is “me,” you can be sure you are about to gossip.

    We are human and we will slip up from time to time, the best thing to do is stop it in its track. If you hear someone gossiping, stop them.

  3. I agree with everything that has been said. And we must all realize that although we work very closely with our staff and become good friends, that does not give anyone the right to spread gossip. It makes for an unhealthy. uncomfortable work environment and in a company jam-packed with women, we need to be especially careful.

  4. I think this is great. Thanks for sharing.

    Doesn’t apply just in the workplace though; I think it is important in all aspects of life. Stopping the gossip will make for better friendships and relationships with people (be it at work, in the family, at school, or anywhere).

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