Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk


Loshen Horreh


      Loshen Horreh can be translated as the evil tongue or the besmirching of someone's good name  by   spreading rumors about him or her. We saw it in the recent election, when the two New York State would be governors were competing for that post.   It was Carl Paladino who was the greatest victim of Andrew Cuomo’s evil tongue, as  Cuomo's campaign belittled Paladino  to the point where his image was painted blacker than black.  Carl had worked very hard and spent his own money to win the race.  His plan for improving the current dilemma was practical and rational.  The evil passages that were spoken and posted about this human being gave him no opportunity to have even a fighting chance to earn the votes that his ideas and his sincere plans presented.

As Jews, we have for eons of centuries experienced the evil tongue, the loshen horreh.  The world’s “Reschoim”/ evildoers, have been gifted in ever increasing numbers to spread their hatred, their anger and their ill will, their jealousies and much more venomousness upon “the people of the book,  the chosen people”... chosen for outbursts, to be victims of abuse both verbal and physical.  Anti-semitism was most rampant in Russia, in Czechoslovakia, in Germany.  The Russians  committed their projected hatred through pogroms as long as can be remembered.  Hitler and his Aryans, his Nazis, his German,s found the final solution, extermination of six million of our beloved brethren.  These victims  and their fate were invented in the brains of that nation. They targeted the Jewish people, the contributors to science, to learning, to the economy and to much more.  It was Goebbels, Goering , Mengele the MD experimenter and killer,  to name but an infinitesimal  few, who gave directions and commands to carry out the nation's violent acts.  It was Streicher, a very ugly sadistic Nazi, who painted hideous cartoons of Jews with long noses, scraggly beards, caftans and black unseemly hats in newspapers where he not only exhibited these cartoons but created hideous rhymes that went into the Sturmer (a hateful Nazi paper) and other hateful sheets of propaganda.  Streicher’s evil tongue and psychopathic brain added script to the unthinkable horrors and defamations.


If diatribe and hatred is impressed  into the human psyche long enough it becomes a belief, especially of those who are uninitiated.  Loshen Horreh is one of the biggest neveres (sins) against humanity, whether it be directed against a person or an entire nation.  To destroy a person’s good name is unforgivable. 


Our late and great President Abraham Lincoln believed so strongly in not shaming people that he would mispronounce a word if the speaker mispronounced the given word, so that the individual with the poor speech pattern would not be shamed by a possible correction. People who are most loved by their friends and acquaintances are those that do not embarrass others and value who and what they are, accept that which they can and cannot do, and do not search for flaws in their fellow humans.


Although there is an unspoken law to refrain from giving poor references for prospective employees, damage can be done by insinuation or body language when  information is imparted.  Tone of voice or body language can be so presented that the inquirer can readily comprehend the deeper meaning of that which has been superficially stated.  An employee may have had  difficulty in one work experience but may blend in well in another.  We cannot guarantee in a  positive way what path a subsequent job will bring!


Let us take the road of our ancestors:  Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rachel, and Rebecca, and live in peace, good will and harmony with our fellow men.


Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.

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