Acharei Mot/Kedoshim: Sticks & Stones

Parashat Kedoshim covers many laws that govern the interactions between people. The Parasha states, “Do not go as a talebearer among your people” (Vayikra 19:16). Unlike  the saying “sticks and stones may break your bones…” the Torah believes that words can be harmful. A story is told about a student who went to his rabbi to tell him that he felt guilty since he spread gossip about one of his classmates. He asked the rabbi what he could do to make amends.The rabbi told him to go home and to take a pillow and spread its feathers into the wind. The student, eager to to “fix” his mistake, returned home, released the feathers into the wind, and reported back to the rabbi the next day. The rabbi turned to the student and said: “Now go gather all of the feathers.”

  • How does this story relate to the Torah’s prohibition of being a talebearer?
  • In an age of social media, how can we relate to the story of the feathers?
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