Q: After I joined Mishmeres HaShalom and began thinking before I speak or listen, I noticed that we often end up speaking lashon hara when resolving family issues.
Some examples are:
I talked to my sister about making my mother aware of her attitude towards one daughter-in-law, and the conversation included negativity.
Family members joined together to help one brother who was struggling financially. In order to work things out, we had discussions that included negativity. (I don’t believe we could have moved matters without these talks).
I spoke to my mother about a nephew who isn’t developing properly and, in my opinion, his parents aren’t handling the problem correctly. My goal was to help the child, but the conversation definitely included negativity.
Are these instances considered to’eles, or are we losing more than we’re gaining, and transgressing the serious sins of lashon hara?
A: This is a very general question, and because I have no specifics about what negative things were actually said, why they were necessary and if things could have been resolved without these discussions, it is really not possible for me to fully answer. When determining the halachic aspects of any matter, each situation must be judged separately, taking into account specific details and intentions.
However, I can say that in the first and third instances, it seems that if you were well versed in the halachos, it wouldn’t be difficult to discuss the issues while adhering to halachic guidelines. In the second example it would be easier to transgress, and you should plan your words well, in order to avoid transgressing the issurim of lashon hara.
In any case, you should contact a competent Rav who is familiar with these issues.
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