Friday, December 10, 2010

Dan Lekaf Zechus II

The People Speak/Kid Speak series is part of the more interesting literature that has been published over the past decade. Author Rabbi Chaim Walder has a popular radio program in Israel where callers can discuss notable events in their personal lives. Additionally, many write to Rabbi Walder and share various personal anecdotes. Stories which share a beneficial message are then shared with the public.

In the most recent volume, People Speak IV, there is a very poignant story which is appropos to Jbloggers. Someone in the blogging/news arena is about to publish a story which would implicate some Yeshiva Bochurim who foolishly endangered themselves and others. At the last minute, he gets a call from a frantic editor who realizes that he is related to the perpetrators and wants to kill the story.

Our protaganist is then faced with the difficult decision as to whether to publish or retract. He sadly realizes that if it were HIS relatives, he would not want to publish the story.

This brings to mind Hillel's great dictum, built on the "Love your neighbor" principle from the Torah: "What is hateful to you, don't do to others."

This then should be the criteria to ask ones self before posting on the internet. If it were about my relatives, would I still publish the story? Unfortunately, many just fire off the story and then ask questions later.

Dan Lekaf Zechus I


  1. Was this posted because of the latest wig controversy?

  2. I beg to differ. The question is whether there is a toeles (a purpose) to the negative report releant to protecting others from harm. The objective goal is to tell the truth when others need to be protected, even if it is your relative. There are unfortunately many cases where people protected the good names of their relatives and yeshivas at the expense of countless children who were subsequently raped. I can not see the mitzvah in such a cover-up.

    In a recent post I addressed the question of dan l'kaf zchus according the Chofetz Chaim.

    I wrote: "in the first section of chapter 4 he discusses being dan lkaf zechus. For an average person if the evidence pro and con are equal, one judges a person positively. If that person is a talmid chacham and pious then even if he is more likely to be guilty we assume innocence. Even in that case it is not an absolute. In chapter 10 where he deals with sins like stealing where others are hurt there is greater leeway to assume guilt to protect the victims. In no case is absolute proof required."

  3. Yerachmiel, there are 2 sides to every issue. While you may be correct, what would you do if it were your relative?


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