Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Halachic queries answered by Harav Menachem Mendel Fuchs, shlita, Menahel Ruchani of Mishmeres HaSholom, posek in the Eidah HaChareidis and Rav of Kiryas Shomrei HaChomos

Q: As a mother of children of varied ages, I often encounter incidents of siblings who tattletale on one another: “He hit me,” “She embarrassed me,” or “He doesn’t want to help clean up.”

I want to clarify whether these complaints constitute lashon hara l’toeles, as the children are involving their parents in order to receive the help they need. In addition, is it permissible to allow them to blurt out the lashon hara l’toeles spontaneously, as children are wont to do, or must they approach me in private?

A: For the wellbeing of children, it is important that they feel their parents are available to protect them. It is therefore permissible for a child to complain about others who hurt him, even if it can’t be rectified and there is no direct toeles (all the more so, if there is a possibility of action l’toeles). The above notwithstanding, parents must follow the halachic guidelines of shemiras halashon l’toeles (not to believe and only to be suspicious of), and address the issue.

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

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