Anti-Defamation Tips


Hi Rabbi,
How can I stop listening to gossip and believing it and judging others badly? I know being party to any defamation is wrong but I can’t help myself! Do you have any advice for me to begin judging others favorably?



  1. Let’s let Rabbi Akiva answer your question. He in a sense discovered the “drip on the rock” theory of character improvement. Rabbi Akiva realized at age forty that just as a sustained trickle of water can carve rock, so too sustained Torah study can change our hearts. Applying this method can help us avoid listening to and believing negative speech. Likewise, it can help accustom us to judge others favorably.

    Some suggested reading material on this subject: The Other Side of the Story, Courtrooms of the Mind, and A Lesson a Day. Even a few minutes a day will, slowly but surely create a positive change in you.

    And don’t forget to judge yourself favorably too. Be happy with any positive change, no matter how incremental.

    If you find yourself speaking negatively with certain friends, you may need to get different friends. Avoiding people, places and situations that trigger forbidden activity is a great way to help change one’s behavior. Good luck!
    Here’s a stratagem to help you feel positive even towards people who annoy you: When you see someone doing something that bothers you, and you think to yourself “What an obnoxious boor,” imagine the person as a little baby. Picture his mother’s unqualified love for him and her joy as she holds him in her arms. Now try to feel a little bit of that love.

    Best wishes from the Team