Thursday, November 18, 2010

LASHON HARA and dating

11th day of Kislev, 5771

Last week we explained that Lashon haRa, telling something negative about somebody else, is one of the most serious prohibitions and its effects could be devastating. We also mentioned that there are a few instances in which we are allowed or even required to speak up revealing certain negative information to prevent someone else's damage, for example, in the world of business. (See

In the area of Shiddukhim (dating) Lashon haRa could also be devastating. I know firsthand many engagements which were tragically broken because of Lashon haRa. Sometime people made negative comments 'innocently' and sometimes 'deliberately' out of jealousy, competition or resentment.

Lashon haRa in the area of Shiddukhim could be extremely destructive. So we need to act with even more caution than we do in the business world, because more (and more lasting) damage could be caused by Lashon haRa in the emotional dimension than in the financial dimension.

I would summarize the dynamics of Lashon haRa / Shiddukhim with two basic rules:

1. If you know of a 'serious/objective' matter that affects the person involved, you can reveal this information to the potential partner. For example any serious physical, mental or psychological health issues. But in other 'subjective' areas -where you apply your judgment more than your knowledge of certain facts -like 'compatibility', you should not interfere using Lashon haRa. Different personalities, for example, might complement each other and make for beautiful marriages.

2. THE GOLDEN RULE: In this matter, please, always seek the advice of an experienced Rabbi as a confidential counselor and an objective third party, who will help you to understand if the matter at hand should be considered a serious/objective matter which deserves to be revealed, or if it is a matter of your own subjective judgment, and therefore you need to let the parties decide by themselves.

Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024