Q: I traveled to the beach aboard an Egged bus that was dilapidated and uncomfortable, with air conditioning that was in poor working order. The travelers were grumbling, protesting that such conditions were intolerable during a heat wave. I joined the crowd on the bus and announced that it was not the first time that Egged was providing such service, and that it was clearly an act against the frum community.
I added that drivers who agree to drive old buses receive bonus pay. (It turned out that this piece of information was incorrect, and is thus hotzaas shem ra about the driver.)
Later on along the way I felt the driver glaring angrily at me. He may have been frustrated with my continuous complaints about the air conditioning, or may have been offended by my claim against the drivers.
I regret what I said and I am afraid that I transgressed with forbidden speech, but I do not know who the driver was and therefore cannot apologize. What should I do?
A: The negativity that was aired on the bus was aimed at Egged in general and the driver in particular. Regarding the driver, the way to repent is by charatah, viduy and kabbalah al ha’asid.
Regarding Egged, if the complaints against them are common knowledge, it is possible that there was no violation of the halachah. This is especially true when the goal is to remedy a situation and to fight against authorities who are making light of the needs of the frum community.
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