Lesson 125b Summary of laws regarding Shidduchim part 4
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Summary of laws regarding shiduchim
The following is a
basic overview of the Shmiras halashon guidelines as they pertain to
shiduchim. They are by no means to be relied on without first consulting with
a competent halachic authority. (See note below)
- 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.
Today we will discuss category #4.
responding to questions regarding a couple who are already engaged
Once a couple is engaged, the standards for what is
permissible to reveal are stricter. The reason for this is that before they’re
engaged you are not harming a specific party but rather withholding a potential
benefit, whereas after they are engaged, if as a result of your words, one
party decides to break off the engagement, you are causing actual harm. The
general guide lines are as follows:
- If you know that the person whom you are telling won’t do
anything on his own without first consulting Bais Din, you may take the
initiative to advise him/her about matters that can be detrimental to
their marriage and respond to questions regarding such issues. (See
appendix below for examples)
- If the person is the type to take matters into his own
hands and break off the engagement without first consulting with Bais Din,
then an additional 2 conditions must be met.
- There must be a second witness to what you are claiming.
- You must be certain that the one whom you are informing
will not cause more harm to the other party than would be due to him by
the determination of Bais Din.
Note: Even if these conditions
are met, you are only skirting the violation of speaking loshon horah.
However, you are not absolved from the sin of aiding and abetting someone to
commit a sin, as it is forbidden for the one whom you are telling to take
action on his own without first consulting with Bais Din.
- If you have information that one of the parties has
heretical beliefs or comes from a promiscuous home, you are obligated to
tell the other party. In these circumstances, none of the preconditions
apply. However, if the information you have is only second hand, you
should make sure to say so.
Important note: These 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 must be consulted for each individual situation.
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.
Oded: Yaakov Avinu was 63 years old when he left his
home to go to Charan; he arrived there when he was 77.
Menaseh: It took him 14 years to travel?
Oded: He actually made a stop on the way.
Oded: He stopped off by the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever.
Oded: To learn Torah.
Menaseh: So he made a 14 year stop at Yeshiva to
Menaseh: But he was already 63 years old and not
married. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for him to go straight to the house
of Lavan and get married as his father commanded him?
Oded: You’re asking a good question, especially in
light of the fact that Yaakov knew that the 12 shevatim were destined to come
from him. Why then did he delay for 14 years the performance of this great
Menaseh: Do you have an answer?
Oded: I do. I will share it with you tomorrow.
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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 Hatevunah Chap. 9
If one of the parties has a major shortcoming that 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 merely 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 estimate that they won’t, you should not inform