Like this? Login or create an account to build your own source sheet. אוהבים? התחברו או הרשמו כדי ליצור דף מקורות משלכם.
בס"ד

#MeToo and the Jewish Ethical Tradition

Source Sheet by Mira Wasserman
More info מידע נוסף
Created November 9, 2018 · 365 Views נוצר 9 November, 2018 · 365 צפיות

  1. Issue # 1: But what about the Jewish prohibition on speaking ill of others?

    Does my #MeToo story constitute leshon ha-ra, "evil speech"?

    Under what conditions should I report sexual misconduct?

    Under what conditions should I pass along the warnings of others?

    The Jewish ethical tradition establishes a high threshold for speech about others, even when the speech is true. But that does not mean Jewish tradition imposes silence on victims. In the signature book of the rabbinic authority known as the Chofetz Chaim (Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, 1838-1933), there are seven criteria for determining when it is permissible and even imperative to speak out about the wrong-doing of others. When such criteria are met, the speech is not considered "leshon ha-ra," or evil speech; it is speech that is intended for good.

     

    As we seek to develop new ethical guidelines centered on safety and justice, the criteria of the Chofetz Chaim can offer a foundation.

  2. According to the Chofetz Chaim, what are the various kinds of benefits that might arise from speaking out about wrong-doing?

    How do these kind of benefits relate to accusations of sexual misconduct and to the goals of the #MeToo movement?

    Are there other criteria that you would like to see added to this list?

    Are there any of the seven that you do not think should be required?

  3. (א) (א) אִם אֶחָד רָאָה אָדָם, שֶׁעָשָׂה עַוְלָה לַחֲבֵרוֹ, כְּגוֹן שֶׁגְּזָלוֹ אוֹ עֲשָׁקוֹ אוֹ הִזִּיקוֹ, בֵּין אִם הַנִּגְזָל וְהַנִּזָּק (ב) יוֹדְעִים מִזֶּה אוֹ לֹא. אוֹ שֶׁבִּיְּשׁוֹ, אוֹ שֶׁצִּעֲרוֹ וְהוֹנָה אוֹתוֹ בִּדְבָרִים. (ג) וְנוֹדַע לוֹ בְּבֵרוּר, שֶׁלֹּא הֵשִׁיב לוֹ אֶת הַגְּזֵלָה וְלֹא שִׁלֵּם לוֹ אֶת נִזְקוֹ (ד) וְלֹא בִּקֵּשׁ פָּנָיו לְהַעֲבִיר לוֹ עַל עֲוֹנוֹ, אֲפִלּוּ רָאָה דָּבָר זֶה בִּיחִידִי, יָכוֹל לְסַפֵּר הַדְּבָרִים לִבְנֵי אָדָם כְּדֵי לַעֲזֹר לַאֲשֶׁר אָשַׁם לוֹ וּלְגַנּוֹת הַמַּעֲשִׂים הָרָעִים בִּפְנִי הַבְּרִיוֹת, אַךְ יִזָּהֵר, שֶׁלֹּא יַחְסְרוּ אֵלּוּ הַשִּׁבְעָה פְּרָטִים, שֶׁנְּבָאֲרֵם בְּסָמוּךְ.

     

    (א) וְאֵלּוּ הֵן: א (ה) שֶׁיִּרְאֶה זֶה הַדָּבָר בְּעַצְמוֹ, וְלֹא עַל יְדֵי שְׁמִיעָה מֵאֲחֵרִים, אִם לֹא שֶׁנִּתְבָּרֵר לוֹ אַחַר כָּךְ, שֶׁהַדָּבָר אֱמֶת.

    (ב) ב שֶׁיִּזָּהֵר מְאֹד, שֶׁלֹּא יַחְלִיט תֵּכֶף אֶת הָעִנְיָן בְּדַעְתּוֹ לְגְזֶל וְעשֶק אוֹ לְהֶזֵּק וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה, (ו) רַק יִתְבּוֹנִן הֵיטֵב אֶת עֶצֶּם הָעִנְיָן, אִם הוּא עַל פִּי דִּין בִּכְלַל גֶּזֶל אוֹ הֶזֵּק.

    (ג) ג (ז) שֶׁיּוֹכִיחַ אֶת הַחוֹטֵא מִתְּחִלָּה (ח) וּבְלָשׁוֹן רַכָּה, אוּלַי יוּכַל לְהוֹעִיל לוֹ, וְיֵיטִיב עַל יְדֵי זֶה אֶת דְּרָכָיו, וְאִם לֹא יִשְׁמַע לוֹ, אָז יוֹדִיעַ לָרַבִּים אֶת אַשְׁמַת הָאִישׁ הַזֶּה, מַה שֶּׁהֵזִיד עַל רֵעֵהוּ. (וְאִם יוֹדֵעַ בּוֹ, שֶׁלֹּא יְקַבֵּל תּוֹכַחְתּוֹ, יְבֹאַר לְקַמָּן, אִם יִרְצֶה ה', בְּסָעִיף ז').

    (ד) ד (ט) שֶׁלֹּא יַגְדִּיל הָעַוְלָה יוֹתֵר מִמַּה שֶּׁהִיא.

    (ה) ה (י) שֶׁיְּכַוֵּן לְתוֹעֶלֶת, וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנְּבָאֵר לְקַמָּן בְּסָעִיף ד', וְלֹא לֵהָנוֹת, חַס וְשָׁלוֹם, מֵהַפְּגָם הַהוּא, שֶׁהוּא נוֹתֵן בַּחֲבֵרוֹ, וְלֹא מִצַּד שִׂנְאָה, שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ עָלָיו מִכְּבָר.

    (ו) ו אִם הוּא (יא) יָכוֹל לְסַבֵּב אֶת הַתּוֹעֶלֶת הַזֹּאת גּוּפָא {עצמה} בְּעֵצָּה אַחֶרֶת, שֶׁלֹּא יִצְּטָרֵךְ לְסַפֵּר אֶת עִנְיַן הַלָשׁוֹן הָרָע עָלָיו, אֲזַי בְּכָל גַּוְנִי אָסוּר לְסַפֵּר.

    (ז) ז (יב) שֶׁלֹּא יְסוֹבֵב עַל יְדֵי הַסִפּוּר הֶזֵּק לְהַנִּדּוֹן יוֹתֵר מִכְּפִי הַדִּין, שֶׁהָיָה יוֹצֵּא, אִלּוּ הוּעַד עָלָיו בְּאֹפֶן זֶה עַל דָּבָר זֶה בְּבֵית דִּין, וּבֵאוּר דָּבָר זֶה עַיֵּן לְקַמָּן בְּהִלְכוֹת רְכִילוּת בִּכְלָל ט', כִּי שָׁם מְקוֹמוֹ.

     

    . . .

     

    (א) הַפְּרָט הַחֲמִישִׁי, שֶׁכָּתַבְנוּ לְעֵיל, שֶׁיְּכַוֵּן לְתוֹעֶלֶת, הוּא כְּמוֹ שֶׁנְּבָאֵר, דְּהַיְנוּ לָא מִבָּעֵי {לא זו בלבד} אִם הָאֲנָשִׁים, שֶׁהוּא מְסַפֵּר לִפְנֵיהֶם יְכוֹלִים הֵם (יד) לַעֲזֹר לַנִּגְזָל וְהַנֶּעֱשָׁק וְהַנִּזָּק וְהַמִּתְבַּיֵּשׁ בְּעִנְיָנָם, בְּודַּאי נָכוֹן לַעֲשׂוֹת הדָּבָר כֵּן. וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם הַתּוֹעֶלֶת הַזֹּאת לֹא תּוּכַל לְהַגִּיעַ עַל יְדֵי סִפּוּרוֹ, (טו) רַק שֶׁהוּא מִתְכַּוֵּן שֶׁיִּתְרַחֲקוּ בְּנֵי אָדָם מִדֶּרֶךְ רֶשַׁע כְּשֶׁיִּשְׁמְעוּ, שֶׁהַבְּרִיּוֹת מְגַנּוֹת פּוֹעֲלֵי אָוֶן, וְאוּלַי הוּא בְּעַצְמוֹ יָשׁוּב עַל יְדֵי זֶה מִדְּרָכָיו הָרָעִים וִיתַקֵּן מַעֲשָׂיו, כְּשֶׁיִּשְׁמַע, שֶׁהַבְּרִיּוֹת מְגַנּוֹת אוֹתוֹ עֲבוּר זֶה, גַּם זֶה אֵינֶנּוּ בִּכְלַל לָשׁוֹן הָרָע, וּלְתוֹעֶלֶת יֵחָשֵׁב, (טז) כֵּיוָן שֶׁעַל כָּל פָּנִים אֵין מְכַוֵּן לֵהָנוֹת מֵהַפְּגָם הַהוּא שֶׁהוּא נוֹתֵן בַּחֲבֵרוֹ, רַק לְקַנִּא לָאֱמֶת, וְאוּלַי תָּבוֹא עַל יְדֵי זֶה תּוֹעֶלֶת עַל לְהַבָּא

    (1) If one saw a person harming a friend, whether robbing them, oppressing them, or causing them damagewhether the one robbed or caused damage knew of it or not — or shaming them or aggrieving them, or wronging them with words, and it became known to one clearly that the theft was not returned and the damage was not redressed and they were not sought out for forgiveness for the transgression, then even if one saw this thing alone, one can relate it to others in order to help them who were wronged and to condemn these evil deeds before people; but one must take care that one not fall short with regard to seven criteria which we shall now explain:

     

    (1) That one see the thing oneself and not hear of it from others, unless it become clear to one afterwards that the thing is true.

    (2) That one take great care not to immediately determine the thing to be theft, or oppression, or damage, and the like, but rather examine the essence of the matter well, determining whether it is theft of damage according to the law.

    (3) That one reprove the sinner first, gently — perhaps this will help so that they rectify their ways. And if they do not listen, then one should apprise the public of this person's guilt — how they deliberately harmed their friend.

    (And if one knows that the reproof will not be accepted — this will be explained below, God willing, in section 7.)

    (4) That one should not exaggerate the wrong beyond what it is.

    (5) That one's intention should be for good, and not (as is explained below in section 4), God forbid, to benefit oneself from this taint that one ascribes to a friend, and not out of hatred that one bears from before.

    (6) If one can bring about the desired good in another way, without needing to tell of the matter that is evil speech about a person, then, in all instances, it is forbidden to tell.

    (7) That one should not cause through the telling more damage to the one spoken about than is appropriate, and than that would come out if this matter was adjudicated in court (The rationale for this is to be found below in the laws of rechiluth, Principle IX, where it properly belongs.)

    . . . 

    (1) The fifth criterion that we wrote of above, namely, that one's intention be for good, is as we shall explain. That is, it is not necessary that the people to whom one tells [the story] can help the one who was robbed, or oppressed, or damaged, or shamed, [if so] then certainly it is correct to do this [i.e., to expose the perpetrator]. But even if this benefit cannot result through one's telling, and one only intends that people will distance themselves from the way of wickedness when they hear of itsince people condemn those who do wrongand perhaps that the same one [who is spoken of] will repent of evil ways and improve their actionsbecause of people's condemnationsthis too is not in the category of "lashon ha-ra" and can be considered a good intention, since in any case, one is not intending to benefit from the taint ascribed to a friend but only to be zealous for the truth, that perhaps some future benefit will result.

  4. Issue # 2: But what about the value of a person's good name?

    What about "innocent until proven guilty?"

    Doesn't Jewish tradition prohibit public shaming?

    The #MeToo movement presents us with an ethical conundrum: Often, it is only through the publicity of allegations of wrongdoing that the truth will come out, but once an allegation is made public, from the perspective of the accused, the worst punishment has already occurred.

     

    Jewish texts do not resolve this dilemma, but they do offer examples of ancient rabbinic deliberations and debate about similar issues. Sometimes, the Rabbis use public shaming as a strategy for enhancing their own power, and sometimes they use it to intervene when others abuse power. In the sources below, we find a range of rabbinic opinions and actions as they seek to address wrong-doing and rumors of wrong-doing that cannot be adjudicated in court.

     

    The rabbinic institution of Nidui, a temporary ban on social interaction, can be seen as an extrajuridical strategy for addressing allegations of rabbinic misconduct that can not be adjudicated.

  5. מועד קטן י״ז א 

     

    אמר רב הונא באושא התקינו אב בית דין שסרח אין מנדין אותו אלא אומר לו (מלכים ב יד, י) הכבד ושב בביתך

    חזר וסרח מנדין אותו מפני חילול השם

     

    ופליגא דריש לקיש דאמר ריש לקיש תלמיד חכם שסרח אין מנדין אותו בפרהסיא שנאמר (הושע ד, ה) וכשלת היום וכשל גם נביא עמך לילה

    כסהו כלילה

    Moed Katan 17a

     

    Rav Huna said: In Usha it was enacted: If the president of the court offended, he is not excommunicated. Rather, they say to him the words of the verse: “Keep your honor and stay at home” (II Kings 14:10). If he offends again, he is excommunicated, due to the desecration of God’s name.

     

    This conflicts with Reish Lakish, for Reish Lakish said: If a rabbinic student offends, he is not excommunicated in public, as it is stated: “Therefore, shall you fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with you in the night” (Hosea 4:5)It should be concealed like the night.

  6. Why do you think the ancient rabbis made a special enactment regarding misconduct by the president of the court?

    In what ways does the enactment of Usha hold the powerful responsible for misconduct? In what ways does it allow for a double standard?

    Imagine that the rabbis who gather in Usha engaged in a process of values-based decision-making: What values does their decision convey?

    What differentiates Reish Lakish's teaching from the enactment at Usha? What values are most salient for Reish Lakish?

    What lessons about institutional abuses of power do you draw from this text?

    Do rabbis or other leaders deserve special consideration when they are suspected of misconduct?

    Is there any ethical justification for concealing the offenses of rabbinic students? of other leaders?

  7. ההוא צורבא מרבנן דהוו סנו שומעניה א"ר יהודה היכי ליעביד לשמתיה צריכי ליה רבנן לא לשמתיה קא מיתחיל שמא דשמיא

     

     

    א"ל לרבב"ח מידי שמיע לך בהא

    א"ל הכי א"ר יוחנן

    מאי דכתיב (מלאכי ב, ז) כי שפתי כהן ישמרו דעת ותורה יבקשו מפיהו כי מלאך ה' צבאות הוא

    אם דומה הרב למלאך ה' יבקשו תורה מפיו ואם לאו אל יבקשו תורה מפיו

     

    שמתיה רב יהודה

     

     

     

    לסוף איחלש רב יהודה

    אתו רבנן לשיולי ביה ואתא איהו נמי בהדייהו

    כד חזייה רב יהודה חייך

    אמר ליה לא מסתייך דשמתיה לההוא גברא אלא אחוכי נמי חייך בי

    א"ל לאו בדידך מחייכנא אלא דכי אזלינא לההוא עלמא בדיחא דעתאי דאפילו לגברא כוותך לא חניפי ליה

     

    נח נפשיה דרב יהודה

    אתא לבי מדרשא

    אמר להו שרו לי

    אמרו ליה רבנן גברא דחשיב כרב יהודה ליכא הכא דלישרי לך אלא זיל לגביה דר' יהודה נשיאה דלישרי לך

     

     

     

    אזל לקמיה

    א"ל לר' אמי פוק עיין בדיניה אי מיבעי למישרא ליה שרי ליה

     

    עיין ר' אמי בדיניה סבר למישרא ליה

     

     

    עמד ר' שמואל בר נחמני על רגליו ואמר ומה שפחה של בית רבי לא נהגו חכמים קלות ראש בנידויה שלש שנים יהודה חבירינו על אחת כמה וכמה

     

     

    א"ר זירא מאי דקמן דאתא האידנא האי סבא בבי מדרשא דהא כמה שני לא אתא ש"מ לא מיבעי למישרא ליה

     

    לא שרא ליה

    נפק כי קא בכי ואזיל

    אתא זיבורא וטרקיה אאמתיה ושכיב

     

     

    עיילוהו למערתא דחסידי ולא קיבלוהו עיילוהו למערתא דדייני וקיבלוהו

     

    מ"ט

    דעבד כר' אילעאי דתניא ר' אילעאי אומר אם רואה אדם שיצרו מתגבר עליו ילך למקום שאין מכירין אותו וילבש שחורים ויתעטף שחורים ויעשה מה שלבו חפץ ואל יחלל שם שמים בפרהסיא

    There was a certain rabbinical student who had a bad reputation.

    Rav Yehuda said: What should be done? Should I excommunicate him? But the Sages need him! Should I not excommunicate him? But this would be to desecrate the Name of Heaven!

     

    He said to Rabba bar bar Ḥana: Have you heard anything with regard to this issue?

    He said to him: Rabbi Yoḥanan said as follows: What is the meaning of that which is written: “For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek Torah at his mouth; for he is a messenger of the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 2:7)? This verse teaches: If the teacher is similar to a messenger of the Lord, then seek Torah from his mouth, but if he is not, then do not seek Torah from his mouth.

     

    Rav Yehuda excommunicated him.

     

    In the end, Rav Yehuda took ill. The Sages came to inquire about his well-being, and he [the one who had been excommunicated] came together with them. When Rav Yehuda saw him, he laughed.

    He [the excommunicated scholar] said to him: Was it not enough that you excommunicated me, you even laugh at me?

    Rav Yehuda said to him: I was not laughing at you; rather, as I got to the next world, I am happy that I did not flatter even such a man as you.

     

    Rav Yehuda died.

    He [the excommunicated scholar] came to the Beit Midrash and said to them [the Sages]: Release me!

     

    The Rabbis said to him: There is no man here as important as Rav Yehuda who could release you, but go before Rabbi Yehuda Nesiah so that he can release you.

     

    He went before him.

    He [Rabbi Yehuda Nesiah] said to Rabbi Ami: Go, examine his case. If he ought to be released, release him!

    Rabbi Ami examined his case and decided to release him.

     

    Rabbi Shmuel bar Nahmani stood up on his feet and said: With regard to the maidservant of Rabbi's household, the Sages did not make light of the excommunication she imposed for three years; with our colleague Yehuda, how much the more so!

     

    Rabbi Zera said: What does this mean that this aged man [Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani] who has not come to the Beit Midrash for how many years now appears? Conclude from this that he ought not be released!

     

    He was not released. He left, crying. A wasp came and stung him on his member and he died.

     

    They brought him to the burial cave of the righteous and he was not accepted. They brought him to the cave of the judges and he was accepted.

     

    What is the reason?

    Because he acted in accordance with Rabbi Illai, for it is taught: Rabbi Illai says: If a person sees that his impulse overcomes him, let him go to a place he is not known, wear black clothes and wrap himself in black, and let him do what his heart desires but let him not profane the name of Heaven in public.

     

  8. How do you think the rabbinical student in the story got a bad reputation?

    Do you find any clues about what he did wrong in the text?

    How does Rav Yehuda describe the two sides of his dilemma?

    How do you interpret Rabba bar bar Ḥana's response?

    What message is he using the verse and its interpretation to convey?

    When Rav Yehuda decides on excommunication, what values does his decision convey? When he later looks back on his decision, are there other values that come in to his appraisal?

  9. Issue # 3: But what about the Jewish belief in the power of repentance?

    I have made my apologies and expressed regret; when can I return to my position?

    What does it take to achieve forgiveness?


    In Jewish legal tradition, the pursuit of justice and the pursuit of forgiveness are two separate processes. If one has wronged another, one cannot seek forgiveness without effectively making amends with one's victim, and redressing that wrong. What that redress entails depends on the nature of the wrong-doing.


    When it comes to the pursuit of Teshuva, or penitence, there are a wide range of practices that support personal transformation. Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, 1135-1204) emphasizes that while true penitence is an internal process, it is achieved and expressed through acts that are public. ​​​​​​​


  10. (א) כָּל מִצְוֹת שֶׁבַּתּוֹרָה בֵּין עֲשֵׂה בֵּין לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה אִם עָבַר אָדָם עַל אַחַת מֵהֶן בֵּין בְּזָדוֹן בֵּין בִּשְׁגָגָה כְּשֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה תְּשׁוּבָה וְיָשׁוּב מֵחֶטְאוֹ חַיָּב לְהִתְוַדּוֹת לִפְנֵי הָאֵל בָּרוּךְ הוּא. . .

    וְכֵן הַחוֹבֵל בַּחֲבֵרוֹ וְהַמַּזִּיק מָמוֹנוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁשִּׁלֵּם לוֹ מַה שֶּׁהוּא חַיָּב לוֹ אֵינוֹ מִתְכַּפֵּר עַד שֶׁיִּתְוַדֶּה וְיָשׁוּב מִלַּעֲשׂוֹת כָּזֶה לְעוֹלָם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ה ו) "מִכָּל חַטֹּאת הָאָדָם":

     

     

    משנה תורה, הלכות תשובה ב: ה

    (ה) וְשֶׁבַח גָּדוֹל לַשָּׁב שֶׁיִּתְוַדֶּה בָּרַבִּים וְיוֹדִיעַ פְּשָׁעָיו לָהֶם וּמְגַלֶּה עֲבֵרוֹת שֶׁבֵּינוֹ לְבֵין חֲבֵרוֹ לַאֲחֵרִים וְאוֹמֵר לָהֶם אָמְנָם חָטָאתִי לִפְלוֹנִי וְעָשִׂיתִי לוֹ כָּךְ וְכָךְ וַהֲרֵינִי הַיּוֹם שָׁב וּמִתְנַחֵם. וְכָל הַמִּתְגָּאֶה וְאֵינוֹ מוֹדִיעַ אֶלָּא מְכַסֶּה פְּשָׁעָיו אֵין תְּשׁוּבָתוֹ גְּמוּרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי כח יג) "מְכַסֶּה פְשָׁעָיו לֹא יַצְלִיחַ". בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בַּעֲבֵרוֹת שֶׁבֵּין אָדָם לַחֲבֵרוֹ אֲבָל בַּעֲבֵרוֹת שֶׁבֵּין אָדָם לַמָּקוֹם אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְפַרְסֵם עַצְמוֹ וְעַזּוּת פָּנִים הִיא לוֹ אִם גִּלָּם.

    (1) All commandments of the Torah, whether they be mandatory or prohibitive, if a person violates any one of them, either deliberately or erroneously, in undertaking to repent and to turn away from sin, one is obliged to confess before God. . .

     

    And so too, one who injures a friend or causes damages in money matters, even though one makes restitution of what one owes, one finds no atonement until one makes verbal confession and repents by obligating oneself never to repeat this again, even as it is said: "from any of a person's sins."

    Mishneh Torah 2:5

    It is highly praiseworthy for a penitent to confess publicly, letting the public know one's iniquities, and exposing sins between oneself and one's neighbor to others, saying to them: "Truly, I have sinned against So-and-So, doing thus and such, but, behold me this day, I repent and am remorseful". But anyone who is arrogant and does not expose but covers up sins, this penitence is not complete, as it is said: "One who covers up sins shall not prosper" (Prov. 28.13). But to what does this refer? Only to sins between one person and another, but with sins between a person and God, the penitent need not make them public, on the contrary it would be impudent of him to expose them.

  11. Why does Maimonides emphasize that one can repay one's debt and undergo punishment, and still not be considered fully penitent?

    Why does Maimonides place so much value on public confession?

    Why is it inappropriate to make a public confession of sins against God?

    Do you think shame is a component of true penitence, or a barrier to true penitence? Why?

Made with the Sefaria Source Sheet Builder
www.sefaria.org/sheets
Add Highlight הוספת צבע להדגשה
Create New
Save שמירה