Q: We live on the top floor of our three-story building. One day we were disturbed by banging that we thought was coming from the roof. I went to ask my neighbors on the second floor if they knew who was making the noise and they replied that they had thought it was our children who were being rowdy and causing the rumpus.
Further inquiries revealed that children from the first floor were playing ball, and the loud sounds echoed in a way that made it sound as if the din originated from us.
I wanted to share my findings with my neighbors from the second floor, for two reasons:
1) It may very well be that in the past they assumed that my children were the source of annoying noises, and it is important to me that they realize that sounds can be misleading.
2) It seems that it would be l’toeles for the future if they knew whom to approach when bothered by noisy children.
Is it permissible for me to notify them or would it be considered lashon hara regarding the neighbors on the first floor?
A: You offered two reasons which, in your opinion, would sanction telling the neighbors on the second floor that the noise was coming from the first floor.
Your first reason was related to what happened in the past, as you don’t want your neighbor to bear a grudge against you. This is a questionable heter, because when children play noisily it may not be considered a real injustice against other building residents (depending on the noise level, etc.), especially if they don’t do this all the time. It is therefore assur for you to do away with their grudge against you if it would automatically be transferred to the neighbors on the first floor.
Your second reason was for future purposes, so that they would know to whom to turn in similar cases. This may justify telling them that the neighbors on the first floor were making noise. In doing so, you must minimize the details, and you may not specify which family or child from the first floor was involved.
The following questions and answers were taken from the Mishmeres Hasholom pamphlet in Israel. For details and inquiries please e-mail us at email@example.com or call 972-2 5379160.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hamodia.