Mishmeres HaSholom: Ask the Rav

Q: I was dissatisfied with our family doctor because of her habit of ordering blood work at every opportunity and getting alarmed at slight problems. I wasn’t alone; other patients and doctors were of the same opinion.

Four years ago, after having switched doctors, I met a fellow patient in the clinic’s waiting room and aired my reasons for having chosen a new doctor. I felt bad after that exchange because I am generally careful about guarding my tongue and other patients may have overheard our conversation.

I assume I must ask forgiveness for the lashon hara spoken but I have no idea how to contact the said doctor (who no longer practices in our neighborhood). Even if I were to locate her, I am worried that asking a non-frum doctor to forgive me may cause a chillul Hashem. What is the proper way to proceed?

A: To begin with, a doctor’s competency should not be a topic for discussion (unless it is l’to’eles and in consonance with the conditions of lashon hara l’to’eles) as it is likely to lead to chishash lashon hara or avak lashon hara.

Through your description, it would seem that post facto you have no obligation to seek the doctor’s forgiveness. First, it is not certain that your discussion contained lashon hara, because neither her professionalism nor dedication to her patients was attacked. On the contrary, you believed that she was overly concerned.

Additionally, it is improbable that the conversation caused the doctor any harm, especially since she no longer practices in your clinic.


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.