Torah For Today: Tell-all interviews

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Torah For Today: Tell-all interviews

Rabbi Alex Chapper takes a topical issue and looks at an Orthodox response

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will give a tell-all interview to Oprah Winfrey
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will give a tell-all interview to Oprah Winfrey

This week, Buckingham Palace confirmed Harry and Meghan will not return as working members of the Royal Family – just days after it was revealed they will give a tell-all television interview to Oprah Winfrey.

What does the Torah say about revealing too much information, or potentially causing embarrassment to others by doing so? 

Perhaps the most powerful proof text is the verse in Micha in which the prophet says: “It has been told you, man, what is good, and what God requires of you; only to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” 

The Hebrew word tzniut, translated here as ‘humbly’, is better understood as ‘modesty’. 

This is an important principle in Judaism and is not limited to laws governing our mode of dress, but is rather an overarching guide to how we should conduct ourselves in all aspects of life. 

The Gemara teaches us that if we are required to conduct public activities, such as weddings or funerals with modesty and discretion, then in matters that tend to be conducted in private, such as giving charity or personal relationships, all the more should they be conducted discreetly. 

This week, we celebrate Purim, with Esther the heroine of the story. Her name means “hidden” – not only did she keep her identity a secret while in the Palace, but she also conducted herself with the modesty appropriate for a queen.

This idea is understood from a verse in Psalms: “All the honour awaits the king’s daughter who is within.”   

Royalty is defined by a comportment that is conservative at all times, circumspect when necessary and demure in both public and private.

As it says in Proverbs: “When arrogance appears, disgrace follows, but wisdom is with those who are unassuming.” 

There is little value in no holds barred interviews. Revealing information that would be more prudent to remain undisclosed possesses the inherent danger of embarrassing everyone who is involved. 

Rabbi Chapper serves Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: