Q: A number of years ago, while my sister was involved in a specific shidduch (which eventually led to her marriage), her proposed chassan’s rebbi interrogated my husband about our family. This individual then requested of my husband that he not tell anybody that he questioned him. My husband kept his word and never told us about it.
I recently heard that his questions were very meddlesome and that he touched on sensitive family issues. I, myself, was very hurt by this, and when I told my mother she was also offended.
I thus would like to know:
- Was my husband right in not telling us about this inquiry?
- Did I transgress by passing on the information to my mother?
A: Your husband did the correct thing by not telling the family about the rebbi’s questions. Even if what he did was indeed inappropriate, your family would derive no direct to’eles from this information, because it didn’t concern the actual shidduch, nor would it benefit the couple. If your husband would have shared this information he’d have transgressed the issurim of lashon hara and rechilus, as well as the prohibition of “bal yomar.”
By telling your mother about this, you transgressed the prohibition of lashon hara because you spoke negatively of the rebbi. Your words also included the prohibition of rechilus, because you caused your mother to be upset at him. You must correct your mistake by convincing your mother that the information you relayed was wrong. You can tell her that it turns out that someone else asked the questions or that you misunderstood and they weren’t inappropriate, etc., until she no longer feels anger towards the rebbi. If you can successfully accomplish this, then it seems you don’t have to ask the rebbi for his forgiveness. In addition, you must regret the past, confess and accept upon yourself not to share such information in the future.
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