#28. Not to Wrong Anyone in Speech.
"You shall not therefore oppress one another."
We live in a world where we believe we ought
to be able to say as we please. Protesters scream and chant for various rights
and privileges, many of which are illusory. Media purports to provide news, but
regularly sends out lurid tidbits and government propaganda, harming
sensibilities and truth. Celebrities believe their words have weight but
normally only convey sequestered arrogance. What is the limit of free speech in
Today's commandment addresses some of this double standard, but also transgressions of greater and heavier weight.
(1) False Witness. To testify in court is to place the liberty, economics, and, in some cases or places, physical body of the accused in peril. A guilty verdict shall bring pain on the accused. If the verdict is based on a false witness, justice demands that the false witness take the punishment in place of the accused. Torah agrees and instates this principle as Law.
This principle applies not only to an innocent man taking unwarranted punishment, but also a guilty man going free, by false testimony.
This principle is also a separate commandment, not to be a false witness.
(2) Gossip. When rumors are spread, lives are destroyed. A person suspected of transgressing Torah should be confronted, according to Torah, Talmudic, and/or Christ-like strategy (see 613.26). If one has information but does not confront, it breaks a commandment (613.26). If one furthermore spreads the information to anyone but lawful authorities, it breaks another (today's) commandment (613.28).
An innocent person, of course, should not be subject to any repercussions from gossip. Such gossip is a false witness.
Gossip is also forbidden under another commandment (613.29).
There are MANY instances where "free speech" is harmful to society, to the intended target, to unintended targets, and even to oneself. Therefore, one should guard and withhold the tongue, that powerful and dangerous muscle, from doing such harm.
HERE is an interesting link on the subject: https://www.openbible.info/topics/our_tongue
Much more in today's lesson! Listen in...
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