Q: I heard that one of my acquaintances is planning to reveal sensitive information to a friend, who in the past has caused me great distress by passing on my personal secret. May I warn my acquaintance of the lack of trustworthiness of that particular friend, so that he does not reveal his secret to him? I must emphasize that I do not enjoy a very friendly relationship with the individual who revealed my secret. I am therefore cautious, because of the condition of telling lashon hara l’toeles regarding “an enemy.”
A: You must carefully judge if it is in fact correct that your acquaintance’s friend is likely to reveal his secret. It is recommended that you get advice from a talmid chacham who is familiar with such matters, and share with him the details of your past experience (excluding identifying factors). The Rav will thus judge if your suspicion is legitimate. If it seems that the suspicion is valid, then you should warn your acquaintance thereof. Understandably, conditions of lashon hara l’toeles must be adhered to, and extra care should be taken to intend nothing but toeles, and not to exaggerate, etc.
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