Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: I keep up with a handicapped old-time high school friend. 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 twenty 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 our classmates.” I could not appease her.

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 a former
student is holding a grudge against her?

A: It is highly recommended that you contact the teacher, as it would be considered a great act of chessed. It would benefit the teacher, who could correct her wrong, as well as the former student, who would be enabled to forgive and forget. Additionally, you would be performing the mitzvah of making peace between one Jew and another, for which reward is promised in This World while the dividends remain for Olam Haba. Your deed would also include an element of 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 write an anonymous letter, making sure that it reaches her directly.