Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: In the school where I teach secular subjects part-time, it is acceptable to hold meetings for all the teachers in order to review the girls’ progress. During these meetings I am drawn into discussions of problematic issues that, needless to say, are told l’to’eles, but serve no purpose for me personally. Sometimes, I hear negative comments about a student who displays no difficulties in my class, and I find them hard to disregard. I leave these meetings with a heavy heart, and I feel like I am walking a tightrope, treading between what is allowed and what would be considered lashon hara. What am I meant to do?

A: The teacher is worried about listening to negative information regarding students who do well in her classes. She feels that maybe the heter of listening to lashon hara l’to’eles does not apply to her in this instance. It is, however, appropriate for her to listen to the updates of students so that if a problem arose during one of her classes she would know how to react.

At the same time, she could tell her co-teachers of their students’ good behavior in her classes, thus exposing positive aspects of those students. Inasmuch as it is permissible and pertinent for her to listen to all the information regarding her students l’to’eles, it is forbidden for her to believe the facts as true. She may only suspect that there may be some truth to them.


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.