Q: I was in the park schmoozing with some neighbors. Among other things, I mentioned that my son, who had just finished kindergarten and started pre-1A, had recently begun saying over the story of the parashah and that I was really pleased with his familiarity with the content. Suddenly, I noticed that the wife of the kindergarten rebbi was sitting there and listening to the conversation. My comment may have sounded like criticism regarding her husband. Have I transgressed a prohibition?
A: Everybody knows that kindergarten children do not really grasp the stories in the weekly parashah, and that in Pre-1A they can comprehend much more. It therefore seems that there was no offense against the kindergarten rebbi, and that you have not transgressed.
If, however, negativity could be inferred from your words regarding the previous rebbi, it is possible that you transgressed with avak lashon hara and that the rebbi’s wife, who was listening, was a bit offended and bothered. If that is the case, it would be commendable for you to apologize and explain that you did not mean to speak against the woman’s husband. On the contrary, you were very pleased with his devotion and education, etc.
Incidentally, it is praiseworthy to deduce a lesson from this incident about how careful one must be when extolling others so as not to offend another person.
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