The Non-Observant

The Non-Observant

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  • December 23, 2018

As we have seen, it is forbidden to listen to negative information in any situation where the speaker is transgressing by relating the information. As it is not permissible to speak loshon hora about a non-observant Jew unless he is classified as an apikores (heretic), it is forbidden to listen to loshon hora that is being spoken about him. As has already been noted, today the average non-observant Jew is classified as a “tinok she’nishba,” (lit., a child who was taken captive), a victim of ignorance and circumstances and not, God forbid, an apikores.

As mentioned above, to discuss the life-style of a particular non-observant Jew in order to teach others not to learn from his ways is considered speaking l’toeles, for a constructive purpose, and is permissible. It is therefore also permissible to listen to such a discussion.

Similarly, when an individual’s improper behavior is publicized as a way of pressuring him to mend his ways, it is correct to listen, for the goal will never be achieved if everyone chooses to ignore what is being said of the person.

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