In a certain yeshiva the menahel was threatening bochurim to tell on other bochurim about who damaged something in the yeshiva.

Is it against the laws of Loshon hora to tell?
What about in other similar situations?


2 Answers 2


The Igros Moshe YD 2:103 writes that it is a deplorable act for a Rebbi to ask his student to tell on another student who did something bad,and it will lessen the seriousness of loshen harah. The Chafetz Chaim in Hilchos Loshen Harah 5 writes that even if a father or rebbi asks him to say lashon harah it is prohibited. However, in a case of to'eles it is permitted just like in any other to'eles case. (See Lashon Harah 10:1 [English].) It would seem this is a case to case basis.

  • I can't recall a Rebbe threatening anyone else or me to tattle tale. Then, again, it's been years since yeshiva ;-) I think if a young child is faced with a threatening rebbe, he should respectfully tell the rebbe, "I wish to discuss this first with my parents," or, something similar. I know that's far easier said than done, and I pray that this situation should never happen to any child. A rebbe should never threaten a child to reveal any secrets, unless, of course it is immediately needed due to life-threatening danger to someone. Perhaps, parents should warn their kids about how to react...
    – DanF
    Jun 4, 2015 at 3:41
  • to such situations in case it does happen. That prepares kids in advance. As I said, I hope that this scenario is not common in yeshivot. Any rebbe that behaves that unusually threatens a child, should be appropriately reprimanded.
    – DanF
    Jun 4, 2015 at 3:44
  • I think "deplorable" is slightly too strong of a translation for how R' Moshe uses "mechu'ar." "Distasteful", perhaps.
    – Shalom
    Jun 4, 2015 at 9:26
  • @Shalom that, indeed, may be the more accurate translation of the word. But, it seems that such tactics were done often enough decades ago, that R. Moshe felt it important enough to publicly address it. IMO, "deplorable" is an appropriate word even if it is not the exact translation. I would even use the word, "despicable". R. Moshe was an astute man in many ways.
    – DanF
    Jun 4, 2015 at 13:59
  • @DanF he refers to men wearing wedding bands as "maybe mechu'ar for the exceedingly God-fearing." "Maybe deplorable"? Doesn't sound right. "Maybe distasteful."
    – Shalom
    Jun 4, 2015 at 16:19

There's an argument between R' Moshe Feinstein and R' Moshe Shternbuch.

R' Moshe Feinstein (as mentioned by sam) says that it's disgusting , as (practically) the teacher is teaching that Lashon Hara is permitted. (or at least not so bad). Even though the Gemara reported instances when Amorayim would inform on their friends to their teacher, there the students did it out of their own volition.

R' Moshe Shternbuch (Teshuvos VeHanhagos 1:539) says that one is allowed to, just one has to explain the stringency of Lashon Hara and the laws of Toeles first.

Moreover, Rabbi Chaim Cohen says that even according to Rav Moshe Feinstein the problem would be only when one makes the child accustomed to tatteling. On the other hand, once in a while one can ask a student can come and tattle on another.

However, he finishes off that one should still be Machmir like the Igros Moshe, and says that this may be the reason people don't care for Lashon Hara - They were educated in it since their Cheder days!!

  • Thanks but according to R' Moshe Shternbuch Jun 4, 2015 at 1:30
  • Why is it different then regular lash on hora and you can say Jun 4, 2015 at 1:31
  • @JediPythonClone Toeles. Even R' Moshe Feinstein agrees that if the child comes on his own we'd listen. Jun 4, 2015 at 1:33
  • Also they were much greater
    – sam
    Jun 4, 2015 at 1:44
  • That is very true I feel like I've been educated in yeshiva to chas vishalom say lashon hora Jun 4, 2015 at 2:07

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