It would seem to be ethically(1) and Jewishly(2) inadvisable--but is there actually a halacha against speaking loshon hara about non-Jews?

Related: Loshon Hara against public Jewish and non-Jewish figures

(1) Ethically--In terms of Kant's Categorical Imperative, or perhaps the Golden Rule? (2) Jewishly--ahavas haBrios; chillul Hashem; derech Eretz; Jewishly-condoned (chesed, rachamim, hitapkut, hakarat hatov) and discouraged (achzriut, sina) behavioral traits; "all [the Torah's] paths are of peace"/mishum eivah

  • Merely related, or is it actually a duplicate?
    – Scimonster
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 12:36
  • My question includes non-public figures as well. Also, I think it's directed differently: Bruce James's question is focusing on the "public figures" aspect whereas mine is focusing on Yiddish status
    – SAH
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 12:41
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    @SAH This is slightly tangential, so I'm not going to include it in my answer. Whether something is "Jewishly inadvisable" and Halachically forbidden parallel each other. The examples you gave of "Jewishly advisable" (i.e. Ahavas HaBrios, Chillul Hashem, etc.) are not arbitrary and subjective. Rather, those also have Halachic guidelines which define what is permitted and what is forbidden. "Ethically" inadvisable also needs to be within the confines of Halachah, for without that, one could argue, for example, that criticizing forbidden actions (i.e. "lifestyle choices") is "unethical". Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 16:41
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    @Salmononius2 Was that a response to my comment? I don't see how it did so. I also don't know why your first sentence is true, or what your last sentence means.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 17:34
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    To clarify: Halachically, lashon hara refers to truths that would lower others' opinion of a person/people. In common parlance, LH is used for all three related sins -- rechilus (retelling gossip) and motzi sheim ra (slander) as well. Now motzi sheim ra is trivial -- lying is prohibited even if there were no victim. And @DoubleAA's answer focuses more on rechilus than on lashon hara itself; although the permissibility of rechilus implies that of lashon hara. Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 20:15

2 Answers 2


One is allowed to speak Lashon Hora about a non-Jew. The Pasuk says "לֹא-תֵלֵךְ רָכִיל בְּעַמֶּיךָ" - "Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people" (Leviticus 19:16). The words "among thy people" teach you that one is only forbidden to speak Lashon Hora about those who are included within "thy people". This goes so far as to include a Jew who has removed himself from the category of amongst his people (by committing certain sins that classify him as a wicked person; what those sins are is a whole different discussion). This limitation of "עַמֶּיךָ" also excludes non-Jews form the prohibition of Lashon Hora, as they are not included in עַמֶּיךָ.

Of course, as you mentioned in your question and other comments, there might be other considerations with regards to speaking 'Lashon Hora' (note: to simplify things, when I write Lashon Hora in quotations, I'm referring to words that would be considered Lashon Hora if they were said to/about a Jew). You brought up Chillul Hashem, which has it's own separate Halachos as to what it is. If what one says is a Chillul Hashem, it is of course forbidden, even though it might not be a sin of Lashon Hora.

Another reason to avoid speaking 'Lashon Hora' about non-Jews is because it creates a bad habit. We humans are creatures of habit, and if we get in the habit of speaking 'Lashon Hora' when it is permitted, we might accidentally start speaking Lashon Hora when it is forbidden.

This does have a few important practical applications. For example, if your Jewish coworkers are badmouthing your Jewish boss (even without you joining in, just listening), you might have an obligation to protest the Lashon Hora in some manner. If he were non-Jewish, you would likely not need to make a protest over the 'Lashon Hora' (as there is no prohibition of Loshon Hara). (You may need to protest due to other factors such as Chillul Hashem depending on the situation, but this answer is just focusing on the Loshon Hara aspect.)

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    There are different Halachos governing how and when one should protest. If the action being done isn't forbidden, then one might not have the obligation to rebuke a fellow Jew (and arguably, it might be forbidden to rebuke in that case). To address your second comment, as politically incorrect as this might sound, non-Jews are not included amongst "עַמֶּיךָ" - your people. That does not mean they are bad people; they could be the most righteous, nicest people, but they are still in a category other than "עַמֶּיךָ", and that has Halachic ramifications. Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 17:10
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    @DoubleAA Why is that a false statement? Also, I disagree with your edit to my answer (specifically the last line). Your edit implies that one might need to consider protesting 'Lashon Hora' said about non-Jews, while I said that one does NOT need to protest, and it might even be forbidden to protest. With regards to the "habit forming" consideration, I don't believe that would give someone the right to protest what he's saying. And with regards to Chillul Hashem, that is a different Issur, as I mentioned. The answer is talking about 'Lashon Hora'. Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 17:24
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    There are logics pro and anti speaking ill about non jews. The pros would be to give motivation to jews not to behave like them and to show how their different. The Torah doesn't assur it for a reason. God chose to use the word in "your nation" for a reason. God could have said not to speak ill about people.
    – Shlomy
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 4:32
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    I'm surprised everybody left out the issue of causing damage to non-Jews, which is forbidden according to Jewish and secular law. Many forms of slander can lead to people being damaged by others (e.g. ruining reputation at work or online) Commented Feb 16, 2015 at 15:15
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    @Emetv'Shalom: The question is whether we're discussing the specific prohibition of lashon hara, or LH in the colloquial sense. If we're talking specifically, then we mean true negative information, as opposed to motzi sheim ra -- slander. Is it really prohibited to harm a non-Jew by not keeping their secrets and letting people know the truth about them? Maybe as a hilkhos dei'os issue, but in terms of the prohibition of damage, I'm not so sure. Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 23:15

In one the hayom yoms it says that it is even worse to speak lashon horo about a goy because it can also be a chilul Hashem

  • Interesting answer. I realized chillul Hashem is an issue. But does the chillul Hashem come on top of a halacha against it?
    – SAH
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 13:30
  • It does. But you are doing 2 aveiras Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 13:53
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    So to sum up: the OP should check the Beis Yosef, Mishna Berura, Kitzur Shulchan Arukh and Shulchan Arukh. That's basically useless advice. You could give that as an answer to almost every question here.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 17:41
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    Why is it not a chillul Hashem to speak loshon hara about a Jew? Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 18:00
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    No; things can be chillul Hashem that aren't technically violations of mitzvot
    – SAH
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 22:56

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