Ethics

For the week ending 29 March 2008 / 22 Adar II 5768

How Much to Tell

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: In suggesting a match the question arises as to how exact one must be in spelling out the problem of one of the parties and whether one can rely on merely mentioning that there is a problem, confident that there will be further investigation by the interested party. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: In his new work "Barchi Nafshi" Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein, rav of the Ramat Elchanan community in Bnei Brak, tells a hair-raising story about a fresh bride who came crying to him that her groom had abandoned her. She told him through her tears that the morning after the wedding there was a knock on the door. When her husband opened the door he saw an Arab who informed him that he was his father-in-law. The angry response of the newly married man was that he had been duped and he left his wife and returned to his mother's home.

Rabbi Zilberstein succeeded in saving the marriage but the episode served as a lesson for matchmakers. The prospective groom had been informed that there was a certain issue with the girl. Since he had an issue of his own he failed to make any further investigations and thus came about the post-wedding shock.

In conclusion, if your evaluation is that the information you withhold can lead to a broken marriage upon discovery, it is best to be forthright and avoid disaster.

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