Minding My Beeswax

Question

Hi Rabbi, is it a sin to be “too nosy”? If so, what’s the sin’s name? I have a bad habit of being nosy. I think that if I could give my nosiness the name of some sin, I could hopefully stop it. Thanks!

, , 10 months

Answers

  1. There is no specific sin of being too nosy. However, nosiness tends to lead to a pattern of negative interpersonal behavior. As Albert Einstein said, “Mathematics are well and good but nature keeps dragging us around by our nose.”

    This negative interpersonal behavior may often involve conduct that Judaism clearly forbids, such as listening to and believing bad and harmful talk about other people (a transgression known as “lashon hara”) and spreading rumors that can embarrass or trouble another (another transgression known as “rechilut”).

    Many people I know like to magnet important pictures on their fridge, such as photos of their children or inspiring quotations. One of my neighbors has a picture of a mouth with a line drawn through it, indicating No Entrance. I assumed it was a reminder for him to watch his diet and eat healthy. But he told me that the symbol in the picture actually meant “No Exit” — and that he put it there as a reminder to guard his mouth from speaking in a negative way about people.

    Perhaps a person who is “overly inquisitive” should post a fridge picture of a nose with a line through it…

    According to Judaism, we each have the free will to choose to do what is right and to choose to not do what is wrong. So, we can choose to change ourselves for the better. If a person can stop being too nosy, this free “nose job” could help avoid the person from many transgressions and live in a more ethical and moral way.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team