Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: I keep up with a handicapped long-time friend from high school. Sometimes, in an effort to lift her spirits — careful not to speak lashon hara — I remind her of the fun we had in the good old days of 20 years ago.

At one opportunity she shared her feelings with me. “I can’t forget Mrs. So-and-So, the teacher who insulted me in front of all our classmates.” I could not successfully calm her down. I offered to speak to the teacher so that she could ask my friend for forgiveness, but my friend demurred. Should I approach the teacher in spite of my friend’s objections and tell her that an old student is holding a grudge against her?

A: It is highly recommended that you contact the teacher, and it would be considered a great act of kindness. This would be beneficial to the teacher, who could correct her wrong, as well as for her former student who could forgive and forget. Additionally, you’d be performing the mitzvah of making peace between one Jew and another, for which reward is promised in Olam Hazeh, while the principal remains for Olam Haba.

Your deed would also include the mitzvah of hashavas aveidah, because the teacher has no clue that an old student is holding a grudge against her. By notifying her, you will give her the opportunity to rectify her fault. If you are uncomfortable with approaching the teacher in person, you can do so by writing an anonymous letter, making sure that it will reach her directly.

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.

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