by Rabbi Berach Steinfeld
A rich person wanted to divorce his wife. The wife was really a great person and did not deserve to be divorced. The rich person came to his Rabbi and the Rabbi knew that it would be a waste of time to try to convince the husband not to divorce his wife. The Rabbi made up with the couple that they will meet at a certain point to write the Get. The Rabbi then called a choshuve rich person and asked him to come at the same time he made up with the couple. He told this other rich person to bend over and whisper in the Rabbi’s ear, after which the Rabbi will scream at him. Right afterward, the rich man should leave. That is exactly what happened.
During the Get proceedings, this person came in and whispered in the Rabbi’s ear, the Rabbi screamed at him to leave immediately, and he left. As soon as he left the Rabbi exclaimed, “This women is not yet divorced and he is already requesting that he wants to marry her!” When the husband heard this he realized this is exactly what will happen and decided not to divorce his wife based on this orchestrated trick. A question arises; how could the Rabbi do such a thing? The fact that he lied seems to be okay since we see that a person is allowed to lie for Sholom Bayis. The problem is that there is an issur of speaking Lashon Hora about the second rich person.
There are a number of answers to this question and with each answer we will see some yesodos in Lashon Hora. The first tirutz is that despite the fact that it is not the most opportune way of dealing with an issue, it is not considered Loshon Hora. I can be explained that the second rich person did not know that the woman has yet to be divorced; he may have thought that she was already divorced, so he is doing nothing wrong.
Another tirutz is that if there is an “anan sahadi” (a given point) that the second person would be happy to assist this woman in order for her not to get divorced, despite the fact that the second person won’t come out looking so good, it would be permissible. In this case, it would not be considered Loshon Hora. Taking something physical away from a person when he is not there would be forbidden, despite the fact you know for a fact the person would not mind, because that would be called “yiush shelo Midaas.” When it comes to Loshon Hora, do we compare it to taking something physically from a person without his consent, or do we say it is not a physical item and we can rely on an “umdana” that the second person would be OK with it? In the Chafetz Chaim 2:13 it would seem that one can rely on the fact that if the person would not mind that this is said about him, it may be said, especially in order to save a marriage.
The problem with the above tirutzim is that it only deals with the person on whom Lashon Hora is spoken about, but does not deal with the people who heard this Lashon Hora. In the event where a person was being pushed into a position that he is unable to refuse, may the person ask another person to say something bad about him and thereby get them to stop pestering him to accept this position? There would be no problem of lying since it is “mipnei darkei shalom.” There would be no problem of Lashon Hora, because he set it up himself. The problem would be that the people will believe it and thereby it will be machshil them with accepting Lashon Hora. The person spoken about does not care if they believe it, so therefore it would not be Lashon Hora. In a similar but different scenario, if a person eats food thinking it is pig, and it ends up being kosher, that would still be a problem. If the people listening to the story do not believe it, and are just choshesh, then in our case it would be permitted.
The fourth tirutz is that one may be oveir a lav to help promote Shalom Bayis as we see we allow Hashem’s name to be erased for Shalom Bayis; therefore one would be allowed to speak Lashon Hora to save a marriage. The Maharil Diskin says from this we see that one may dig up a grave to check whether or not the person in it was the husband of a woman in question. We find in Teshuvos Lechem Salma II:53 that we do not stop the father from making a bracha of pidyon haben in the case where his wife had lost a baby while she was single. The reason for is that if the husband would find this out, he would divorce her, so we allow a bracha levatala to keep the peace in their marriage!
The fifth tirutz is that in order to save the husband from being an achzar and doing something much worse by divorcing her, we would rather he hear Lashon Hora which is a much lesser aveira. This would depend on a machlokes of Birkei Yosef Choshen Mishpat 9 and the Avnei Nezer, Yoreh Deah 126 that deals with someone who is eating cheilev, which is a terrible lav and has a chiyuv of Kareis. Is a person able to substitute it with neveila, which is less of an aveira? Do we say that the person making the switch is causing him to eat neveila, or do we concentrate on the fact that he is saving the sinner from a worse issur of cheilev?
May we be zocheh to have Shalom Bayis with our families and with Hashem!