Dialog With the Insane

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Dear Rabbi Teitelbaum

I was recently listening to the Jewish radio and they had a person on that was giving psychic readings over the telephone. They also interviewed these nut cases who went to Iran. Do you feel that it’s proper to put such people on a Jewish radio show and expose them or should we simply ignore them completely?


Mrs. S.

Please withhold name if publishing

Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum replies

Dialogue with the insane or arguing with a fool only turns you into one as well, and while it usually gives the fool a chance to make a bigger fool out of himself it may leave a residual effect on some of the gullible or naïve listeners. The less coins there are in a can the more noise they make when you shake it. There certainly is great danger in giving their strange warped views public air-time even when we debunk them. See Rambam Hilchos ….

Radio shows seem to enjoy putting these crazies on since it brings them lots of listeners and ratings are the name of the game. While they know that psychics are all hogwash, they put them on their show despite the danger they may present to the gullible public. How we give free radio time to those who have dared shake the hand of the Hitler of our generation without realizing that this is exactly what they are looking for is beyond me.

The question is only who is the bigger fool, the callers, listeners, or those being interviewed? While this is a free country and they can do as they wish, you also have the freedom of turning off the switch or turning the dial elsewhere. If nobody would listen than no one would advertise and if nobody would advertise they would have to shut down. So it’s our listeners and advertisers that keep these shows going.