Lesson 123b Summary of laws regarding shidduchim part 2
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Summary of laws regarding shiduchim
- I’m a bit confused as to what I’m allowed to say and what
I’m not, regarding shiduchim. Would you mind summarizing these laws?
- Not at all. There are 4 general categories. Each
category has its own set of laws. The 4 categories are as follows:
- Suggesting or advising someone to pursue a possible
- Advising someone, or sharing information that will lead someone
not to pursue a particular shiduch.
- Responding to questions about a possible shiduch.
- Advising or responding to questions regarding a couple
who are already engaged.
- Suggesting or advising someone to pursue a possible
Today we will discuss category #2.
Important note: The following are only general
guidelines. Every situation has its own unique set of circumstances which may
have a bearing on these guidelines. What you say or don’t say regarding these
matters can have a major impact on the life of others. Therefore, a
competent halachic authority should be consulted on how to proceed in each
Advising someone, or sharing information that will
lead someone not to pursue a shiduch
If one of the parties has a major shortcoming which the
other party is unaware of, you must inform them.
Here are some examples of major shortcomings that should
- A serious internal health issue
- Serious psychological, emotional, or mental issues
- Heretical beliefs
- Comes from a promiscuous home
However, before divulging information, the following
conditions must be met.
- You must clarify that the shortcoming is indeed a major shortcoming
and not just a weakness.
- You must not exaggerate the shortcoming for more than it
- Your intention should be for the benefit of the one whom
you are informing and not out of hatred for the other party.
- You must assess whether the one whom you’re informing will
listen to you. If you assess that they won’t, you should not inform them.
Note: Regarding a person who has heretical beliefs, none of
the above conditions are necessary. Regarding one who comes from a promiscuous
home, the above conditions are also not necessary, with the exception of the
last one. If your words will not be heeded, you should refrain from sharing
the information. In all cases, if you only know the information second hand,
you must say so.
Here are some examples of information that you MAY NOT take the initiative to reveal:
- Something that is not a real shortcoming, even if some
people might look down upon it. For example, if one is not “street smart”
due to his/her wholesome nature, that is not a shortcoming and you may not
reveal that information, unsolicited.
- A lack of Torah wisdom. (It is upon the interested party
to investigate that matter on their own)
- Character flaws. (Unless they are flawed to the extent
that they will have a detrimental effect on the marriage)
- Degrading information about a party’s parents or
Important Note: As you can see, these laws are very
intricate. One slight change in detail can have a dramatic effect on the
outcome of the law. It is therefore essential to consult with a competent
halachic authority before revealing any information that can have a negative
impact on a shidduch.
This section is
formatted as a conversation between Oded and Menaseh. Oded is encouraging his
friend Menaseh to be more careful in guarding his tongue from evil speech. The
thoughts in this section are primarily based on the sefer, Shmiras Haloshon.
Menaseh: Yesterday, you explained that The Akaida
was a defining moment for Avraham not so much because he did it, but rather,
because of the tremendous demonstration of love that he displayed in doing it.
You also said that in order to benefit from the merit of our forefathers we
must follow in their footsteps to the best of our ability. What would be a practical
application of this?
Oded: Imagine for a moment, Avraham Avinu is considering
removing Yitzchok from his Torah studies so that he may go learn how to make a
comfortable living. Hashem then comes to Avraham and tells him; don’t remove
Yitzchok from his Torah studies. Do you think Avraham would heed Hashem’s
Menaseh: I would imagine so. He was ready to
sacrifice Yitzchok’s life he would certainly sacrifice Yitzchok’s material comfort
Oded: Well that would be then a practical
application of following in our forefathers footsteps.
Menaseh: But Hashem didn’t command me to sacrifice
Oded: He commanded us to teach our son’s Torah and
to follow in his ways. The same way a doctor has to study many years to become
a doctor, so too, to understand Hashem’s ways one has to study for many years.
Menaseh: But I have pity on my son and I want him to
have a comfortable life.
Oded: Removing your son from Torah study is not a
display of mercy but rather of cruelty.
Menaseh: How is that cruelty?
Oded: It is cruel to his soul. By removing him from
learning his soul will remain empty from Torah and Mitzvos. An empty soul is
much worse than an empty pocket for the soul is eternal while material comfort
is only a temporary condition.
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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 2 Chap. 9
2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 2 Chap. 9
Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Sha’ar HaTorah Chap. 8