The Torah in Bamidbar 13-14, describes the story of the 12 spies in which 10 of them deceit Am Israel speaking slander about the land. This causes the people to fear and cry for no reason, leading to the punishment of having to wait 40 more years in the desert until a their generation was replaced by a new one.

After reading this, it becomes clear that it's an extremely serious sin to talk bad about the promised land. But this got me thinking, to what extent is it wrong to talk bad about this land nowadays? There are two hypothetical situations which I thought about:

1)Let's say I'm talking with some friends about studying/living in Israel, can I say, for example, that I think the weather there is bad, or that it's not as pretty as another country?

2)What about saying that the economical or political situation in Israel is bad? Or that the people there are not nice, for example?

Note: The contrast between the two points is that the first one refers to the physical aspect of the land, while the other refers to ideological or social aspects of the State of Israel. Also, just want to make clear that I don't hold this views of the country, it's actually the opposite in both aspects, this is just an hypothetical question.

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    After reading this, it becomes clear that it's an extremely serious sin to talk bad about the promised land. Not necessarily. It could be that the problem was more context specific. For example, speaking against the land, when God is taking you there.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 1:32
  • I dont beileve there is anything wrong saying that the political situation is bad,since that is related to ppl not the actual land. If lets say the Israeli Govt started you prohibit shabbas observance ,is that somthing one would be able to be silent about,ofcourse not,I believe the issur is speaking about the actual land
    – sam
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 17:53
  • I strongly recommend reading Rabbi J B Soloveitchik's book Kol Dodi Dofek. It deals with achdut of Knesset Yisrael, the establishment of the State of Israel, shared suffering, the need to be by each others' side, the negative portrayal of Israel by the international community as well as by Jews, etc. It gives good perspective on this question.
    – bondonk
    Commented Sep 22, 2018 at 23:02

1 Answer 1


Halachipedia cites R Yitzhok Silver in Mishpatei Hashalom (a compendium of Hilchot Bein Adam L'Chavero) who writes explicitly "It is forbidden to say Lashon Hara about the land of Israel, its fruits, its people or any other aspect of it."

And interestingly one of the examples you give in your question is quoted explicitly in the gemara as being forbidden to criticize in Israel !

About the weather in Israel, the gemara (Ketubot end of 112a and 112b) writes (translation R Steinsaltz)

Rabbi Ammi and Rabbi Asi would stand and pass from a sunny spot to a shady one, and from a shady spot to a sunny one, so that they would always sit in comfort and never have cause to remark that they were uncomfortable in Eretz Yisrael. Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Gamda would roll in the dust of the land, as it is stated: “For Your servants take pleasure in her stones, and love her dust” (Psalms 102:15).


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