Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: As a seniors’ homeroom teacher, I am inundated with inquiries about shidduchim for former students. Sometimes I’m put on the spot to divulge information that may eventually be repeated to the subject or her parents. These conversations can easily turn into lashon hara or ona’as devarim, where the other side will be pained upon hearing what I said about them. On the other hand, is it correct to withhold information from people who trust my truthful judgment?

A: If you learn and adhere to the halachos of lashon hara l’to’eles, there’s no need to worry about giving information. When offering information, take care to focus on the positive, and to make mild mention of negative traits between the praise. An example would be: “She knows exactly what she wants, and she’s sometimes very explicit about it.”

If you tell the information l’to’eles, and accentuate the positive while hinting at the negative, it isn’t lashon hara.

When in doubt, a competent Rav should be consulted.

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.