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Q&A

Does the Torah guarantee free speech?

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There are certain categories of speech which are outright forbidden by the Torah (various forms of gossip, profanity, blasphemy, curse, etc.).

Theoretically speaking, could the Sanhedrin legislate further restrictions on speech, or does the Torah guarantee free speech to Jews?

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6 comments

with all the halachic limitations and the conventional wisdom of statements like וְלֹא מָצָאתִי לַגּוּף טוֹב אֶלָּא שְׁתִיקָה I'm not sure why there would be any notion of freedom of speech rosends‭ about 2 months ago

On the other hand, within the scope of Torah, free speech - stating your opinion - seems to be a very valid thing. I can't remember the specifics at the moment, but there is at least one famous incident of an argument over Halachah that ends with a Bas Kol siding with the outvoted Rabbi (essentially) - the speech/stated opinion is permitted - even encouraged - as long as the Halachah is followed according to the established rule (Mesorah and/or majority decision, depending on the situation). manassehkatz‭ about 2 months ago

How about אבק לשון הרע? AA ‭ about 2 months ago

The Torah definitely doesn't guarantee free speech - that would require a positive statement, and there is not such statement in the Torah. A better question is if it values free speech, and if there are any sources which are relevant. simyou‭ about 2 months ago

@AA Would depend on your interpretation of the halachos I think. The simplest reading is that it’s Rabbinically prohibited, but I’ve heard some apologists claiming it’s their interpretations of the verses and therefore it’s really Biblically prohibited, or the opposite approach that they’re discouraging it but it’s not strictly prohibited. DonielF‭ about 2 months ago

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