Potentially Harmful Relationships

The next set of rules concerns information which, if provided, could prevent a potential relationship (e.g. business partnership, shidduch [marriage match], hiring a worker) from materializing.

In these cases, Halachah differentiates between three situations:
(1) where one suggests the relationship;
(2) where one is called on to answer questions from one party concerning the other:
(3) where one is in a position to volunteer information to either one of the parties about the other, though it has not been requested.

These three situations involve different Torah commandments and therefore are to be dealt with using varying criteria.

When suggesting that someone consider entering into a relationship with someone else, one must be mindful of the commandment “Before a blind person do not place a stumbling block”, which our Sages interpret as an admonition not to offer advice which is not porper.

It is absolutely forbidden to suggest someone as a possible employee, business partner or marriage partner if one is aware that:
(1) Objectively speaking, it may not be good for the people involved, or (2) it does not satisfy the subjective needs and tastes of both parties.

Not only is it cruel to subject people to situations that are bad for them, it is also wrong to involve the unsuspecting in relationships they would not have wanted had they known the facts.

Examples of this rule will be discussed on the next page (Suggesting a Relationship)

Sefer Chofetz Chaim, 22 Kislev, page 212 and 408


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