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Old 05-21-2013, 09:45 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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This subject was touched upon a few days ago and I have finally had a chance to sit down and think more about it and read through the link that was shared. http://www.kolshofar.org/docs/LawsofLashonHara.pdf

I struggle with keeping my mouth shut, especially in situations where I am trying to make a decision. Being an extravert, I tend to have to talk things through to come to a conclusion. So, I'm trying to figure out when this is okay to share details of a situation when I'm in need of counsel.

For example, in family relationships, is it okay to talk to my mom or a friend about my sister to get advice on what I should do in a given situation? I'm putting off making a decisions that needs to be made because I just don't know how to respond. I don't know if this would fall under "constructive purpose" or not. Family relationships are so much harder than other relationships...
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:09 AM
 
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For example, in family relationships, is it okay to talk to my mom or a friend about my sister to get advice on what I should do in a given situation?
Yes. It is considered a "constructive purpose", if you are indeed seeking advice from one particular person.
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Originally Posted by iwishiwerethin View Post
if you are indeed seeking advice from one particular person.
There's the rub, isn't it? Believe it or not, this can be hard to determine for an extravert. Extraverts are different from intraverts in that we think out loud. There are studies that have been done where extraverts are connected to an eeg and we can see that when the extravert begins speaking, pulses begin moving to the thinking center of the brain. It's interesting to note that it's the speaking the ellicits the thinking, not the other person's response.

My husband and I are both in education and personality differences has been an area of fascination for me as it pertains to education and also to personal relationships. Learning about my own personality type has answered a lot of questions for me, but it has also raised a lot of questions, such as this one about lashon hara.

I wonder if any other extraverts have had this question and whether they have resolved it themselves.
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Old 05-21-2013, 03:03 PM
 
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Extraverts are different from intraverts in that we think out loud.
So let us say that the prohibition of abstaining from Loshan Horah is harder for an extrovert. "Thou shalt not steal" must be horrendous for a kleptomaniac.

That's the point of mitzvos, to channel our desires in the right direction thereby producing a holier environment for everybody.

I know the feeling of having to keep your mouth shut.
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Old 05-21-2013, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Originally Posted by iwishiwerethin View Post
So let us say that the prohibition of abstaining from Loshan Horah is harder for an extrovert. "Thou shalt not steal" must be horrendous for a kleptomaniac.
Yes, this thought did occur to me. I know that natural tendencies CAN be sins, but are they always sins? So for someone addicted to food, gluttony is a difficulty, but at what point does it cross over from being just eating to gluttony. The same with talking. It's not always sinful, but can be. Stealing, as far as I know, is always a sin.

Another thing I am trying to work on is negative speech. I want to totally get rid of the habit of focusing on the negative. I want to learn to respond when someone says how are you, with only positive responses. Instead of "my car is in the shop" and "my hot water heater is broken" to say, "my children are healthy and my garden is doing really well." I think if I could accomplish this, the lashon hara would take care of itself. In other words, even if I have to think out loud, if I am focusing on the positive my words, generally speaking, shouldn't qualify as lashon hara.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:01 PM
 
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gluttony is a difficulty, but at what point does it cross over from being just eating to gluttony. The same with talking. It's not always sinful, but can be.

Gluttony is a bad virtue, but not sinful. Eating non-kosher food in moderation is sinful. Talking isn't sinful, either. As a matter of fact, talking is what differentiates a person from an animal. One must know how to talk, though.
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Originally Posted by iwishiwerethin View Post
gluttony is a difficulty, but at what point does it cross over from being just eating to gluttony. The same with talking. It's not always sinful, but can be.

Gluttony is a bad virtue, but not sinful. Eating non-kosher food in moderation is sinful. Talking isn't sinful, either. As a matter of fact, talking is what differentiates a person from an animal. One must know how to talk, though.
Good points. Amazing how our view of the world becomes our reality. I'm fairly new to learning Torah and I've been surprised at what things I have assumed that weren't true. Thanks for pointing these things out.

So, do you think the exact same words could be sinful in one case and not sinful in another? I'm guessing that whether or not it qualifies as sin, in at least some cases, depends on the intent of the speaker, not just the actual words.
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:44 AM
 
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So, do you think the exact same words could be sinful in one case and not sinful in another?
Yes. The Chofetz Chaim brings an example of Reuven, a traveler, asking Shimon where he could find a place to eat. Shimon tells him "Oh, go to Levi, you'll always find food in his house." If Shimon is implying that Levi is a glutton, his words are avak loshon horah-dust of Loshen Horah, but they could actually be a compliment to Levi who is known for always serving food to wayfarers. So, yes, intent does matter.

But even with intent, there are restrictions. Such as in the case you mentioned about your sister. Seeking advice doesn't give you permission to talk about your sister to the whole town to hear everybody's opinion. If you must confide in someone, choose one person whom you trust to discuss the issue with.
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:16 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Originally Posted by iwishiwerethin View Post
Yes. The Chofetz Chaim brings an example of Reuven, a traveler, asking Shimon where he could find a place to eat. Shimon tells him "Oh, go to Levi, you'll always find food in his house." If Shimon is implying that Levi is a glutton, his words are avak loshon horah-dust of Loshen Horah, but they could actually be a compliment to Levi who is known for always serving food to wayfarers. So, yes, intent does matter.

But even with intent, there are restrictions. Such as in the case you mentioned about your sister. Seeking advice doesn't give you permission to talk about your sister to the whole town to hear everybody's opinion. If you must confide in someone, choose one person whom you trust to discuss the issue with.
Makes sense. Thank you.
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:40 AM
 
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Daas Torah can be difficult to understand, particularly when you function on a hashkafah that is based on secular culture, or progressive/non-normative Jewish thought.

The Torah prohibits speaking Loshon Hora about any fellow Jew. In the Torah, the word used for "fellow Jew" is "amisecha," (members of the nation which are together with you in the performance of Torah & Mitzvos). Therefore, someone who, with full knowledge, rejects the Torah or consistently and rebelliously disobeys any of the Laws of the Torah is not considered "amisecha," and there is no prohibition against speaking Loshon Hora about him.
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