Secondhand Information

Secondhand Information

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  • December 24, 2018

The commandment Do not accept a false report, prohibits the acceptance as fact of any negative statement concerning a person or group of persons. Accurate interpretation of a person’s actions and/or words demands thorough knowledge of the setting in which the action occurred and the events which led up to it, an understanding of the person’s mindset and manner of speech, and much sensitivity. This is obviously impossible unless one has witnessed the action and accompanying remarks. Reliance on the sensitivity, objectivity, integrity and wisdom of an alleged observer of an improper act is rejected by the Torah as foolish and wrong. Certainly, if the speaker is committing the sin of speaking loshon hora, his integrity is suspect and one cannot accept his words as true and accurate. By Torah law, only the testimony of two valid witnesses accepted by a beis din (rabbinical court) can be believed as fact.

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