Are Their Any Cases Where LaShone Hara and Rechilus are Permitted?
After reading such stringent principles which govern what is LaShone Hara and Rechilus you may think, “Gee, I can’t say anything without it being LaShone Hara is some fashion!”
Not so, there are rare occasions when one should speak out against another, but only after certain steps (Matt. 18:15-20) are followed and the motive behind such speech against them is not to hurt that person but to protect others from them and their harmful ways and hopefully cause the offending party to reconsider their ways and repent. For instance, if a believer is living in open rebellion against YHWH, clearly breaking His Torah (I John 3:4) and you have confronted them privately, tactfully, and lovingly, one on one and urge them to repent and they refuse to do so, then take one or more brothers or sisters in the faith with you (Deut. 19:15) to again lovingly and tactfully confront this person and persuade them to repent. If they still refuse after this then you bring them before the “church,” which means here the Beyt Din (House of Judgment), the Counsel of Ruling Elders of the Congregation to review the charges against them and lovingly and tactfully urge them to repent. If this fails then the Beyt Din can rule to have the person excommunicated from the Congregation and shunned until they return in repentance. But rarely have I seen it used appropriately in the modern day Christian Church. Restoration is the ultimate goal of excommunication and shunning, not punishment. The offender is excommunicated and shunned in an attempt to:
1. Let that person know they did wrong.
2. To give them space to figure things out.
3. To show and remind them of the fellowship they are missing out on.
Shunning is never done in a, “Humph,” snotty kind of way, but in a quiet, mournful politeness. As if the person was terminally ill and you are speechless.
Then, and only then it is permissible to relay to others what this person had said or done in order to protect others from getting caught up in and being partakers of their sin. The only exception to this is that if for some reason one is in a position that somehow makes it impossible for them to contact or confront the offender properly and personally.
We should not ask, “When MAY I speak LaShone Hara or Rechilus,” but “When MUST I speak LaShone Hara or Rechilus?”
The following are guidelines to be considered when trying to determine if LaShone Hara or Rechilus is in order.
· Be certain the danger to others if you do not speak out is real and not imagined or exaggerated.
· If there are any other ways or methods in which to warn people which do not include LaShone Hara or Rechilus, you must do that first. All other acceptable alternatives must be first exhausted.
· Be sure your motives are pure and you have nothing to personally gain by speaking out.
The following are guidelines in speaking out against others when the circumstances are appropriate to do so.
· You must have personally witnessed the sin yourself and be sure you indeed without a shadow of a doubt saw what you saw.
· You must speak out with the offender’s full knowledge of you doing so. This is beneficial because it may cause the person to repent and thus you wouldn’t have to speak out.
· You must speak out publicly and not secretly behind closed doors or others backs.
· Your motives in speaking out against or about the person must be out of a pure motive to warn or protect others from getting caught up in the offender’s sin and not punishment, humiliation revenge or personal gain.
· You must relay only bare essential facts with out exaggeration.
· You must be willing to say what you have said as if the offender was right there face to face in your presence.
· You must do everything possible to ensure that the results of your speaking out will be positive and not cause undue harm to anyone.
· You must not speak out in such away so as to cause the offender to suffer more than they deserve.
There are a few other rare occasions when one may speak LaShone Hara against another, such as positively knowing something about ones future spouse or business partner that is not already well known in order to protect one from physical, mental, emotional, spiritual or financial harm.
In short according to the teachings of (Natsari) Judaism it is permissible to speak out against:
· An unrepentant believer after properly going through the steps found in Matthew 18 and refuse to abide by the decisions of a Beyt Din.
· A Rasha which is a wicked person who knowingly, blatantly, unashamedly and overtly sins.
· An Apikores (Atheist or Agnostic) ONLY if by doing so will produce constructive results, such as keeping a believer from straying from the Faith.
How do we keep from engaging in and perpetuating LaShone Hara and or Rechilus?
Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
In the Service to the G-d of Israel,
-- Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr