I once heard lashon hara (slander) from someone whom I generally admire, about someone towards whom I had less respect. I was naturally tempted to believe the statement, even though it is forbidden to believe lashon hara.

I'm looking for practical tips on how to avoid believing lashon hara told by someone whom I usually trust and respect.

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    "He doesn't know what he's talking about this time;" "Yeah, this is what he saw....but there's a kaf z'chus that he didn't see!" ....both of the above have worked for me in the past. – MTL Dec 7 '14 at 22:41

I think that this precisely should cause you to respect him less. If he's speaking Lashon Hara, he's violating quite a serious Lav. Would you respect a thief?

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  • I'd respect a thief's ability to report ordinary events which he has no reason to lie about. Why shouldn't I? – Double AA Dec 8 '14 at 3:31
  • In addition to DoubeAA's comment, fabricating a negative story about a person requires a much greater measure of malice/wickedness than merely reporting what one thinks to be true. (Even though your suggestion is in Sefer Shemiras HaLashon, I still won't upvote until I understand how it answers the question. Sorry) – הנער הזה Dec 8 '14 at 6:50

I'm looking for practical tips on how to avoid believing lashon hara told by someone whom I usually trust and respect.

Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

While the law speaks to judicial matters, the principle might be appropriated. If one persons tells you you are sick, forget it. If two people tell you you are sick, lie down.

A technique to reduce the impact of unreliable information is to establish levels of processing new information.

  1. Could such information be true?
  2. Would this be consistent with other things I know?
  3. Is this something that is essential for me to consider as true right now?
  4. Should I "shelve" this information until it can be corroborated?

Advertisers would love it if you went right from hearing something to believing it. Even from a trustworthy friend, it is beneficial to be somewhat skeptical. Even people you trust can pass along information which they believe to be true or information which they have mistakenly accepted with real sincerity.

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