Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: My work entails typing chiddushei Torah for bachurim from my husband’s yeshivah, and I often encounter messy handwriting, unclear writing and spelling mistakes. When I have trouble deciphering what the boys are trying to say, I show my husband the paper so that he can help me figure out what it says. I wanted to know if this would constitute lashon hara because my husband knows the boys well, and could recognize their handwritings. If this is prohibited, how can I correct my wrong?

A: You are permitted to show your husband papers that bachurim wrote with spelling mistakes and unclear writing so that he can help you decipher what was written. This does not constitute lashon hara even if your husband will recognize the handwriting, because it is for the constructive purpose of publishing well-written chiddushei Torah. It is not reasonable to expect a typist to contact each bachur personally to decipher the words, because it is too much effort and it would be an endless job.

Another reason for this heter is that it is unfortunately well known that spelling and grammar mistakes are common amongst bachurim and it would therefore not be considered a negative trait or fault regarding the bachur, especially since experience has shown that over the years boys do improve in their writing. There are additional reasons for this heter.