Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: One of my co-workers was trusted to pass on an envelope of bonus pay that we received for Yom Tov to a member of staff who lives in his neighborhood and was absent on that day. Though I have no concrete proof for my suspicion, I suspect that the co-worker who was appointed messenger pocketed the money.

I am considering approaching the absent worker to find out if he did indeed receive the bonus pay before Yom Tov. My intentions are l’to’eles, so that in case the money has not been passed on, the matter could be investigated.

Must I take into account machlokes, lashon hara or rechilus that could come about because of my inquiry?

A: Your concern for machlokes and other transgressions that could result from your inquiry regarding the bonus envelope is well founded. Take caution before acting, in accordance with the following options:

1) If you were appointed in charge of the distribution of the bonus, you should investigate the matter even if it is based on a far-fetched suspicion. However, you may not question the messenger or the receiver directly. Instead, find an opportune time to investigate the matter indirectly. Examples would be, “What did you buy with the bonus pay?” or “Were you satisfied with the bonus pay?” You can thus verify if the check was received without transgressing or provoking machlokes.

2) If you are simply a co-worker and you were not responsible for distributing the envelopes, then, only if the suspicion is reasonable and well-founded, should you investigate the matter in an indirect way, as delineated above.

The questions and answers above were taken from the Mishmeres Hasholom pamphlet in Israel. For details and inquiries please e-mail us at office@hasholom.org 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.