Feathers and Pillows
A man approached the Chofetz Chaim (January 26, 1839 – September 15, 1933) and said, “I have spoken loshon harah (slander), how can I repent?”
The Chofetz Chaim told him, “Take a feather pillow, go to the town square, rip open the pillow and shake it out. Then come back to me.” The man did as he was instructed and then returned. The Chofetz Chaim said, “Now go and collect all the feathers.”
The man returned a few hours later with a handful of feathers. The Chofetz Chaim said, “This is how it works with loshon harah; once it leaves our mouths it takes on a life of its own and you can never get it back.”
In those days they only had word of mouth; slander could travel, but how far? Today, with the internet, when we write about another person it is global. Let’s think before we rip open the pillow and speak loshon harah.
Think about it!
Rabbi Tzvi Jacobson, Host of Let’s Talk Torah on the NRM Streamcast Community Channel