However, the people who inhabit the land are mighty, and the cities are extremely huge and fortified, and there we saw even the offspring of the giant (Bamidbar 13:28)
I got so upset this past week at someone. He started saying that certain things a family in our community was doing was improper. I happen to know this family very well and when he said this, I immediately had numerous reasons why this family did what they did. Some of the things were a little strange, but I had an excuse for them. I got very upset at this other person for speaking what I felt was Lashon Hara against this family.
There is a reason everyone does the things they do. No one thinks “I am about to do something really bad because I am an evil person.” Even mass murderers think they are doing something good. If we want to avoid Lashon Hara (and we should want to avoid speaking it!) the key is to think like the other person. This is easy to do when they are our friends, but we need to do this for everyone. This does not mean that we need to accept the things they do (of course, we should not think that a mass murderer is not doing anything wrong… he is.), but it will give us a better understanding and most of the time, people are really not doing something bad.
The Spies in this week’s parsha spoke negatively of Eretz Yisrael and this event is seen as one of the lowest points in our history. How could these great leaders do something so dumb? It’s because they didn’t think. They spoke negatively because they did not judge Hashem righteously. They saw giants burying their dead and were worried that the land was full of large beasts which would easily destroy the Jews. The problem was they didn’t think that Hashem was doing something very good for us and keeping the giants occupied while the Spies could look at the land.
Before we speak Lashon Hara, take a few minutes and try to put yourself in the other person’s mind. If this other person did that this past week, he would have never spoken negatively against my friend.
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