Mishmeres HaSholom – Ask the Rav

Q: A friend told me he was interested in registering his son in a particular yeshivah for the upcoming year. He mentioned the name of the mashgiach under whose guidance his son was to be. As a small place, the yeshivah prides itself on its individual approach, and staff members who are appointed for every number of boys.

Upon hearing the name of the mashgiach, I remembered an unfortunate incident concerning a boy who left the fold because of mistreatment and lack of consideration on the part of that specific mashgiach. Assuming that this is a case of lashon hara for constructive purposes I feel responsible to warn my friend about the mashgiach. I would like to refer to the rebellious bachur by his name to add credence to my words, and wish to know if this too would be considered toeles.

A: You did not specify who your source for the negative information is, and how you know that the boy’s leaving the fold was indeed caused by maltreatment and/or negligence on the part of the mashgiach. If the information is reliable, (though there is plenty of room for untruth in information as such,) when talking to your friend, you may make slight mention of the fact that it is important that he check out the mashgiach to confirm that he is suitable for his son’s personality.

If, however, the information regarding the rebellious bachur is based on rumors, then it is highly questionable if you may hint at a suspicion regarding the mashgiach, and it is certainly forbidden to refer to the boy who left the fold by his name. It is unfair to conclude that the bachur left because of his mashgiach’s negligence, especially in the case of a yeshivah that prides itself on its devotion to its students.

Kids at risk are a highly complex issue, and lacking reliable information it would be forbidden to speak explicitly against the mashgiach. You may tell the father that in spite of the fact that the yeshivah excels in its commitment to the individual, it is nevertheless advisable to keep the lines of communication open with the mashgiach regarding his son’s progress.

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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