Q: An acquaintance offered my name as a reference regarding a proposed shidduch and when the girl’s family called me I was in a quandary. Though I know the boy’s family well, I am aware that the boy suffers from emotional disorders.
Uncertain of what I was or was not allowed to say and what my responsibility was, I was wary of hinting at his disorders.
Since the boy’s side directed them to me, it would be obvious where the information came from and I was afraid of causing a machlokes. I avoided disclosing the information by saying that they were an exceptional family, but that I was not that familiar with the boy.
In hindsight, I’m wondering if I acted correctly. Will I not be faulted for the anguish I cause them by withholding the pertinent information?
A: You did well by not disclosing the boy’s issues. In this particular case, where the family can easily deduce who relayed the information, you were not obligated to reveal anything, since it would most likely lead to rechilus and machlokes.
There is, however, an obligation to find an alternate way, or to request of someone else to notify the girl’s family about the boy’s disorder. In so doing, you will avoid causing the girl and her family needless harm, without transgressing the prohibition of rechilus.
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