Mishmeres Hasholom – Ask the Rav

Q: For the purpose of fundraising for our yeshivah, we put out a pamphlet emphasizing the uniqueness of our mossad, as it literally saves bachurim. In the pamphlet, we included a story that describes an instance in which several boys were saved.

Afterward it occurred to us that this may constitute lashon hara, since if the boys read this story they might be offended. But perhaps, for such an important goal, it would be permitted?

A: There indeed is concern that the boys who are the subject of the story — describing their initial poor state and their rehabilitation, thanks to the yeshivah — will be pained when they see their secret exposed in the pamphlet.

They might also be concerned that people will guess whom it’s referring to and will become aware of all the fine details of their uncomplimentary story.

A number of different mitzvos may be violated here: lashon hara, hurting one’s fellow with words, not loving your fellow Jew and more. The need to support the yeshivah does not justify permitting these violations, unless the boys give their express permission to publicize it.

The solution is to change details of the story while retaining the gist of the true content — e.g., changing the hometown, the age, the type of problem the boys had, and so on.

The main thing is to leave in the principle of their having been saved by the yeshivah and the extent of the Rosh Yeshivah’s and the educational staff’s dedication. This does not constitute falsehood and, b’ezras Hashem, if they do so, the matter will be resolved in a proper and respectable manner.

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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