Q: I am a high school student, and in my class there are social problems, competition among the girls, and so on. I am accustomed to speaking to my mother a lot about what bothers me, so as to unburden myself. I want to ask if that is all right, as far as hilchos lashon hara is concerned — if I don’t mention names and my mother wouldn’t be able to guess which girls I’m speaking about?
A: If it is certain that the mother cannot guess who the girls are whose conduct bothers her daughter, it is permissible for the daughter to tell her mother what is going on in class and, thereby, to calm down, bisiyatta diShmaya. But if it appears that, in the end, the mother will know who these girls are, there is no sweeping heter to speak lashon hara so as to unload one’s feelings; each case must be considered individually, as we’ve written in the past in this column.
It should be pointed out that if the mother should want to speak to the teacher about the problem, she should preface her report by saying that she doesn’t know who the problem girls are and, as long as there is no clear benefit involved — she does not want to know their names.
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The views expressed are of the individual author. Readers are encouraged to consult their own posek for guidance.