The Laws of Speech on Social Media

Presents 3 sample conversations and explores whether they are permissible according to the laws of forbidden speech (lashon hara).

1) Are you allowed to share negative information about someone in order to prevent them (or someone else) from harm?
2) Should you apologize if you gossiped about someone? What if they will be upset to know that you spoke behind their back?
3) If everyone knows about a story, can you repeat it?

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In this session, the NCSYers will see 3 scenarios that are commonplace on social media. Each scenario raises a question that will promote dialogue with the NCSYers and teach the halacha of that particular scenario.

How to Teach This Session:
For each of the 3 scenarios, hold up an 11 x 17 poster of the particular scenario. (Click here to download 11x17" posters to print.)

Ask the NCSYers for their opinion: If they were the rabbi that had to decide the halacha, what would they decide and why? If there are opposing opinions among the NCSYers, facilitate a debate between the parties. As always, validate their thinking and participation.

After the NCSYers have read the scenario and shared their thoughts on what the halacha should be, go through and discuss the sources for that particular scenario.

Throughout the sources, the message of the beauty and sensitivity of halacha should be loud and clear.

(As you will see, one of the scenarios discusses drinking alcohol. We have included it because it is a reality in the lives of the teens. At the same time that we are going to be realistic about the challenges the NCSY deal with, you have an opportunity to be exceptionally clear about the fact that drinking alcohol is unacceptable for teenagers. To be clear, under no circumstances should drinking alcohol of any kind be promoted.)

As you prepare for the session, make sure to have a few stories to share up your sleeve to weave into the session.

To hear how Midwest NCSY ran this session for Spring Regional, please contact Rabbi Phil Karesh.