Shmiras Halashon [guarding of one's tongue] is a pretty popular concept. So popular, in fact, that societies advocating it have risen up in many communities. Books talk about it, lectures discuss the concept, and people...? Shhh...not supposed to talk about it -- might be deemed gossip!
A few years back when a formal group was created in Toronto, a group whose aim was to teach about avoiding gossip, slander, idle talk, a girlfriend and I were talking about this group. Nothing bad, you understand, just talking.
She said that someone had gotten up in her shul to talk about the group and said that everyone should dedicate at least one hour a day to being aware of what one says and avoiding lashon harah. My girlfriend decided that 3 a.m. worked good for her!
In any case, I don't need a society to realize that gossip and slander are negative; I was raised to be aware not to talk idly or evil about people and things. But sometimes there is a thin line: am I talking lashon harah, or is it just positive criticism?
This evening I was laughing to myself when I came across this ad in a little magazine meant primarily for Toronto's Orthodox community:
Need place cards for your simcha? We have place cards that include 2-4 line poems to encourage Shmiras Halashon at a simcha...
At a simcha of all places! When you want to critique or discuss the groom's side of the family, or the bride's gown, the music, the decor...and most importantly...the FOOD!! No discussing, no hinting at, no passing references?
I'm guessing that some guests and members of the wedding party, or the bar mitzvah boy's family and friends are doomed.
Perhaps blogging is truly a form of lashon harah. I don't want to be a part of lashon harah. So I guess I just have to stop blogging....NOT!!! Thought I was serious, huh?
The message of this post is think before you write, think before you speak...and if need be, remember that more often than not, "Silence is golden."