The Dangers of Meddlesome Neighbors and Friends to Shalom Bayis

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By Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin MA
Director: Jewish Professionals Institute
Dedicated to my Children.
Part of a Series on Shalom Bayis
When Shalom Bayis problems break out, there are always lots of cooks spoiling the broth. Everybody becomes an expert about the problems a feuding couple is going through. Nobody cares about the truth, everybody has to have an opinion and get involved in things that they know nothing about.
Usually, Frum people are very private and they shun the way of the media. Yerei Shomayimdikka people do not advertise their lives on talk radio and reality TV or on Facebook. Yet in the normal course of life they have problems like all human beings. Sometimes a wife may be too talkative with the wrong neighbors, or a husband may Shmooz with the wrong Chevra in the Shtiebel. So people think they are experts and chime in with their half penny’s worth of “advice” when they should be minding their own business.
The best thing to do when someone you know is going through Shalom Bayis problems is have them talk to your local Rov or Rebbetzin right away. Every good Rov will know that he needs to refer the couple to a good family therapist. Avoid the temptation to be busy-body and voyeur!
The Rov must take the initiative and call in the couple for a discussion. Neutrality for a Rabbi is dangerous! Moshe Rabbeinu and our great Chazal were not neutral. The Nevi’im were not neutral for sure! People are hurting and suffering and it is Assur for a Rov to stay away, just as it is Assur for private people to get involved!
Regard a Shalom Bayis crisis like a car accident. The first thing is to keep the nosy crowds away! Make way for the experts, even if you have degrees and are a top notch professional do not assume you can solve complex problems between a feuding husband and wife.
And most importantly do not take sides, because you do not know the history of each person and what they have done or not done to get to the point of the problem.
To be continued…


  1. My neighborhood has a few raboul rousers and yentas who mix into sholom bayis and they are given credibility because they are wealthy and belong to a volunteer ambulance service they have hurt so many the punishment that awaits them nebach thank u matzav for bringing up this issue

  2. Neutrality for a rav is dangerous?! You are definitely not a rav or a therapist. The best rav or therapist helps the couple communicate in productive and open ways that can hopefully lead to a resolution. Only if there is a danger should they take a stand. Olease be careful what you write. Taking a side can be lethal.

    • No, the Rov must NOT take sides! Obviously! What I am saying is that the Rov should get involved to help BOTH sides, and not just stay out of it while two good people are fighting and destroying each other. Lo Sa’amod Al Dam Rei’echa (“do not stand idly by while your brother’s/sister’s blood is being spilled”!!)
      Please think straight!

  3. To Seichel: The writer is using NEUTRAL to mean “not getting involved”. He means the Rav must get involved and make sure the couple gets help. He doesn’t mean the Rav should take sides.

  4. Politely, this article is a bad case of the Jewish feeling that is not jewish based on the value of fearing the public and not entirely or at all Fearing G-d.

    The simple knowledge of Hashem is that he has created a universe for you to learn to Daven and pray. To think that you are going to fear that the neighbors or others in the universe are your casualty for seeking Shalom Bayit is to add to your own lost interest in Torah.

    • Nope, you are not in the real world, because in truth, where while the neighbors do NOT “cause” the problem, they often make it WORSE by being uninvited (by BOTH sides) nosy-bodies and muckrakers!
      Get real and smell the coffee!

  5. To Anonymous 3:22, you must be an expert at doublespeak. I doubt anybody can make heads or tails of anything you wrote.

  6. “Yerei Shomayimdikka people do not advertise their lives on talk radio and reality TV or on Facebook.” I hope you see the irony in this given the Facebook button at the top of this article.

    • the point is mabye it could have been fixed or not broken as much with out (fake askans) yentas noy evryone can repair cars or are brain suergons
      point is if you are not qualified stay the hec out you will have to answer on next world for what you have done

    • Nope, sometimes one of the parties is not mentally or emotionally well, and it is not clear to the neighbors, they think they are “helping” when in fact they are getting into a minefield of unexploded and exploding “bombs” and “mines” going off in the lives of the feuding couple.
      Fools rush in where angels fear to tread! Hedyot Kofetz LeRosh! (“the fool jumps in first”!)


    Beware the “expert” neighbor, who may even be a medical professional of some sort, or a person with a long beard and Semicha, or just a well-meaning do-gooder, such people are VERY dangerous to the success of CONTINUED Shalom Bayis of neighbors when a couple is having a complex unfathomable-to-outsiders Machlokes between themselves!

    Think of it this way, say your neighbor was having a nervous meltdown, and you are a nurse of some such, would you even dare to offer advice?! Of course not! It needs special care! But look what happens when a wife comes grumbling about her husband that he does not do this and that, or said such and such, why would you think you have to then “run” another couple’s marriage from across the street? Yet people do this ALL the time!

    How do you know the wife is not a LIAR?

    How do you know what the husband is REALLY like?

    Maybe she does NOTHING around the house!

    Maybe he washes all the dishes, cooks all the food, makes sure all bills are paid on time, deals with the mortgages and family legal matters, makes all the wife’s doctors’ appointments, renews all the licenses, serves his wife everything she asks him, but she is spoiled by all this, and makes up pure Bubba Meises and speaks Loshen Hora and Rechilus about her long-suffering husband, and then the “super-smart” neighbors, say “aha, we knew it all along, he’s ‘rat'” and they tell the wife to call the police next time, and she follows their stupid advice, and a Bayis Ne’eman BeYisroel goes down the tubes because some idiot neighbor decided they are smarter than than the couple and know what is best for them!

    People need to ask Shaylos! Would a Din Torah be run this way? Like a Kangaroo Court? Like a Lynch Mob? Yet this the way, husbands, and sometimes even wives are run out of their homes and out of town by incompetent cruel neighbors and people who know nothing about Marital Counseling and just enjoy making trouble for other innocent people and see them suffer!

    These scenarios are sadly all too true and people need to stop and mind their own business, and deal with their OWN single children, do Chesed for others and DO NOT BREAK UP MARRIAGES BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO “Play God” Chas Vesholom.

    Seyag Lechochma Shetika!

  8. Avoiding the pitfalls of unsolicited Kiruv and Counseling, as help for your own Shalom Bayis

    From my own long experiences in Kiruv and Counseling it is very important to know that if one wants to influence a person or a family to improve, that you do not NOT go to the home of that family or person to help them improve or solve their problem. You need to have the person or the family with the problem come to you, preferably to a neutral place like a professional office or the a place where Kiruv or Counseling is usually done.

    Solving other people’s emotional or Hashkofic problems is not like dealing with a real medical emergency. When someone cuts themselves or has a heart attack, of course you call Hatzola (ambulance) and the doctors or medics need to come to the house of the patient to start treating them. Not so for Kiruv or Counseling! If you are doing Kiruv or Counseling for a person or family, do not go to their homes to help them because then you are on their terrain, they have the potential to engulf you and overwhelm you with their home environment. Besides not being Tzniusdik and it is maybe even Maris Ayin (bad appearances/impressions), by going to the home of the problem person or family you have left your own world and are now part of their world. This is not good for either Kiruv or Counseling because they can easily then turn the tables on you and you will be the recipient of their NEGATIVE “kiruv” and “counseling” instead of giving it, and instead of solving other people’s problems you may well become the victim of Shalom Bayis problems of your own without realizing it!

    So great Chochma is required in Kiruv and Counseling situation to maker sure that any potential people you may want to help, should come to you where you are on neutral strong ground. There have Nebech been many stories where well-intentioned even very experienced Kiruv people have gone into the private homes of people who look like they “need help” and in the end what happens is that the Kiruv person comes under the influence of people in that problem home and by just being human, caring and loving, they fall victim to predatory behavior and situations that they never imagined they could fall into and it then effects and destroys the Shalom Bayis of that well-meaning Kiruv worker.

    So therefore, if even seasoned and experienced Kiruv workers need to be careful where they go to do their Kiruv and Counseling, how much more so must ordinary people not familiar with family and personal problems not go into homes or places where they know there are serious problems!

    I once heard a reliable story in the name of Rav Yitzchok Hutner ZT”L who was my Rosh Yeshiva when I learned in Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin. There was a famous Talmid who was not married yet who got an offer of a great Shtella (teaching position) in an out of town city that was in a very cold climate area. He was very excited to go and he was sure that Rav Hutner would agree to it! To his great surprise Rv Hutner advised him against taking that position. When he asked Rav Hutner why, he got a very interesting response. Rav Hutner told him that while the actual teaching position was wonderful, but “the nights are very cold and you will get very lonely”! Meaning, that it was not suitable for a Bochur (a unmarried student) to go to place where he could become a victim of unforeseen, yet very human, temptations.

    This is the point I am trying to make here as well. You could the best person on Earth. You could even be a champion Kiruv worker and world class Counselor. But do not underestimate the power of others and of unexpected situations to fool and trick you into making your own mistakes that could ruin your own life and your own Shalom Bayis.

    That is why no one ever hears of Psychologists going into homes. Sometime there are official City social workers whose job is to to do home visitations. That is part of the official jobs. But if it is not part of your job description, do not go to places to “solve problems” because you may become part of even a bigger problem.

    Chochom Einav BeRosho (“the wise person uses the eyes in his head”), and Eizehu Chochom, Haro’eh Es HaNolad (“who is wise? the one who foresees the results”)!


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