Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: We’ve learned about the heter from the Chofetz Chaim for speaking lashon hara when the intention is to get something off our chest.

As a yeshivah bachur, I would like to know if I’m permitted to use this heter for the following situation: My rebbi paired up my good friend with a shallow boy who, in my opinion, can be detrimental to him. My friend has no say in the matter and has to learn with this boy. But I’m concerned and would like to discuss this with a different friend. (There is no constructive purpose here, because boys can’t challenge the principal’s decision.)

Is it permissible for me to talk about this in order to relieve my worry?

A: The Chofetz Chaim’s heter for speaking lashon hara in order to get the worry off our chest is limited to specific conditions. This isn’t an open-ended heter for anyone to use at any opportunity. It seems unlikely that the Chofetz Chaim intended this allowance for your particular case, as it seems that you will be able to handle your concern without discussing it with others.

Instead of speaking about it, it would be a good idea to take a Tehillim and daven for your friend that he not be affected by his chavrusa. You will thus gain a twofold benefit: 1) You’ll generate merits for your friend. 2) Your davening will relieve you of your worry in a slander-free way.

It is also important to emphasize that your opinion that the boy is shallow and could be detrimental might not be true. In general, the yeshivah staff knows their talmidim well and does what is in their power to help each student reach his potential in every area.


The following questions and answers 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.