Listening With Kindness


Someone told me a story that I’d heard before and I really didn’t want to waste my time hearing it again. But I didn’t want to offend the teller who was enjoying telling the story and decided to listen politely. Is that what Judaism teaches?



  1. Yes. You performed a wonderful act of kindness by giving the person a few minutes of your time so that the person will feel good. And who knows, maybe you heard a new twist on the story or enjoyed hearing it told in this particular way, and maybe even strengthened a positive bond with the other person? I’m assuming, or course, that there was no element of speech that would fall under the category of lashon hara (gossip or slander) – in which case you would not be able to “lend an ear”.

    Professional comedians used to introduce their jokes with the line “Stop me if you’ve heard this”. But it is rare that a friend of yours will give you this escape hatch. It then becomes important for you to reflect on what our Talmudic Sages have said about a smile given to another person being more appreciated by him than offering him a cold, refreshing drink. This teaches us the importance of making others feel good, something which you accomplish by making believe you have never head the news or story before.

    And don’t forget the “golden rule” of the Sage Hillel not to do to others what you don’t want done to you. How do you feel when someone interrupts you by saying “I’ve heard this already”?

    Best wishes from the Team