Q: I heard that one of my acquaintances is planning to reveal sensitive information to a friend. In the past, this individual caused me great distress by passing on my personal secret. May I warn my acquaintance of the lack of trustworthiness of that particular friend, so that he does not reveal his secret to him? I must emphasize that I do not presently enjoy a very friendly relationship with the person who revealed my secret. Therefore I am cautious because of the conditions for telling lashon hara l’toeles regarding an “enemy.”
A: You must carefully judge if it is in fact correct that this friend is likely to reveal your acquaintance’s secret. It is recommended that you get advice from a talmid chacham who is familiar with these matters, and share with him the details of your past experience (excluding identifying factors). The Rav will thus judge if your suspicion is legitimate. If it seems that the suspicion is valid, then you should warn your acquaintance thereof. Understandably, conditions of lashon hara l’toeles must be adhered to, and extra care should be taken to intend nothing but toeles, and not to exaggerate, etc.
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