Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: Our neighbors are baalei teshuvah, and their grandparents from chutz laAretz have come to visit. Their grandfather wears a yarmulke and attends davening in shul, and the grandmother dresses modestly. It seems they are following their grandchildren in the teshuvah process.

One Shabbos, I happened to be looking out the window and noticed a disturbing sight. The grandfather walked into the yard, checked that nobody was looking, and lit a cigarette. Inasmuch as the halachah varies regarding a mechallel Shabbos and someone who is considered a shomer mitzvos, I was wondering if for constructive purposes I can tell my husband what I saw.

A: It doesn’t seem there would be any constructive purpose in your husband knowing about the incident with the grandfather. People are aware that the grandparents have just begun their journey towards Yiddishkeit, and at this point their commitment may still be unstable. They would not yet be considered frum Jews in every sense. This is especially true regarding chillul Shabbos, where private acts would not define the matter.

We thus assume that there is no heter in relaying the information, unless you suspect that family members would identify with their grandfather, in which case you should alarm them and caution them to keep their distance.


The questions and answers above were taken from the Mishmeres Hasholom pamphlet in Israel. For details and inquiries please e-mail us at office@hasholom.org or call 972-2 5379160.

The views expressed are of the individual author. Readers are encouraged to consult their own posek for guidance.