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Avoiding the Evil Tongue with Emily Berman

Emily Berman is a mom and audio-maker based in Washington DC. To offer your own advice, call Zak @ 844-935-BEST


ZAK: Do you ever gossip about somebody over text and then you realize to your horror you sent the text to the person you're talking shit about!? Of course you have, you're human. And if you haven't, good on ya. But if you have like the rest of us, you might appreciate this advice.

EMILY: DO NOT TALK SHIT ABOUT PEOPLE IN WRITING. Don't do it in text. Don't do it in an e-mail. Don't write it on a piece of paper. Don't write it down. And this works on a lot of different levels. You can go very deep with this. Like, biblically deep. First of all, its saves you from being caught in a very embarrassing situation. It pauses you for a second. If you just like, have this rule that you're not gonna write things down. If you're not gonna say anything bad about someone pause. You're not gonna text it. You have to call the person to say it. You have to call whoever you want to talk to. Are you gonna make the call just to say that thing? So, it gives you a second to reflect. And if you call, ok, you call and you say it and then maybe notice how you feel after that. Like, was it worth it to call to say that? Like sometimes maybe but generally speaking it feels pretty bad to might start to notice. I've started to notice that it feels pretty bad to say negative things about people.

EMILY: And, this is not my idea. This is one of the most important laws in the Torah, which is the laws surrounding Lashon Hora which means evil speech or evil tongue is what is means exactly. And it's really one of the worse things you can do in the Torah because it is so destructive. Things you say about other people can be destructive to them in their lives in so many ways.

EMILY: It's an on-going practice. Everyday you're going to be confronted with this situation of like, you have the thought of something you feel about someone else. Something you need to get off your chest. And then you have your choice of like, what are you gonna do? Are you gonna quickly express those thoughts to someone else? Are you going to keep it to yourself? And like, you're gonna practice over and over not writing it down. Not making the call to express the feeling and then eventually, I don't know if I can say I think the thoughts less, but I feel like it's becoming a smaller and smaller part of my personality and my goal is to be a person who does not say negative things about other people.

ZAK: When you're suppressing the urge to write shit or talk shit, what do you do then with that feeling of like, man, this person just was being an asshole and I want some catharsis from it?

EMILY: Ok, so like, sometimes I don't do it perfectly. Like, sometimes I do pick up the phone and call the person I want to talk to about it and vent for a second. But, it's like I'm getting quicker and being more empathetic to the person I would have said something negative about. Little by little it doesn't feel as much like suppression, although at the beginning when I first learned about this, it did feel like I was suppressing things and I felt stifled. I just want to say what I think. I just want to say...I just want say how I feel and that's important because I feel it. But it actually becomes a spiritual practice of empathy. Cause it feels terrible to think that other people are out there saying bad things about me. And if we're all just doing that, that's such a heavy reality to be living in. So, I guess I am trying to do my part to change the reality...change the way we all communicate with another and just, I'm not gonna do that. I'm not gonna say something bad about you, Zak. Laughter.

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