Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: A young couple moved into an apartment across the hall from us. Being that she was new to the area, the young wife came to inquire regarding supermarkets in the neighborhood: where prices are more reasonable, etc. Was it permissible for me to reply?

Because of the quick turnover of tenants in this apartment, I’d like to know the halachah regarding neighbors who don’t approach me. Is it permissible for me to advise them, on my own, as to the cheapest place to shop?

A: You may inform your new neighbors of the cheapest place to shop, while adhering to the conditions of lashon hara for a constructive purpose as delineated by the Chofetz Chaim, especially to intend the positive purpose and not to exaggerate. However, you must keep in mind that stores who charge more often offer other benefits, e.g. a larger variety, better service, shorter check-out lines, closer proximity, more efficient delivery service, etc. It is for this reason that it is important to point out the benefits of the other store when replying regarding the most reasonable place to shop.

It would seem that it is correct to refrain from offering information when neighbors don’t inquire; shev v’al ta’aseh adif.


 

Mishmeres HaSholom is the international organization for increasing the study and practice of the laws of shemiras halashon. To hear a clear, concise three- to five-minute shiur on the daily segment of hilchos shemiras halashon, dial (718) 887-9628. To learn more about our programs or to become a Mishmeres HaSholom member, please call (845) 694-3275 or email office@hasholom.org.