July 21, 2024
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Pleading the Fifth, From Two Sides

Dear Shoshy,

I am trying to set someone up and I know a piece of information about them that is not extremely flattering. I am wondering what my halachic and ethical place is—do I have to reveal this information about them? Normally, I would not hesitate, but I happen to believe that in this case this shidduch is such a great idea that it is worth it to leave some information undivulged. I also am not sure that it is my place to spill the beans. I know for certain that the person in question would rather be the one to share this with others and would not take too kindly to the idea of having someone else do so. Does this violate something between us if I do this? Am I allowed to do so anyway for the sake of the other party involved? If I should only tell them if this progresses, then how far do I let this go before breaking it up? I feel as though I am not able to reveal this information without the person’s consent, but on the other hand I can not knowingly withhold this potentially damaging information. It seems that I am stuck between a rock and a hard place here…any thoughts?

Thank you,

Pleading the Fifth

Dear “Pleading the Fifth,”

You are indeed stuck between a rock and a hard place here. I think that your best course of action would be to reveal what is going on instead of being sneaky or secretive about it. You should tell the person you are trying to set up the difficulty that you have and explain to them that you did not want to reveal this information without their consent. That being said, you must express the importance of revealing said information and being completely honest with the other party involved. I think that sometimes people are so focused on getting out there and getting a date that they fail to realize that they too would not be interested in dating someone if the other party does not know the truth about them. Sooner or later, whether or not your friend wants it known, the truth will come out. They would certainly rather it come from them than from a different source. I think you should give your friend an ultimatum. If this information is particularly private, then you can understand their reluctance to reveal it just yet. Tell them you will check up on the shidduch in a number of weeks to ensure that the truth has come out. If the person would rather you be the one to divulge this sensitive information, then you can proceed accordingly.

Good luck and tizku l’mitzvot,

Shoshy Goldstein

Dear Shoshy,

I have been in a relationship for a month and some information just came out that I was unaware of before. The boy I am dating told me that he thinks I did not understand his level of frumkeit when we first started dating. In fact, he thinks that I was purposely misled by the shadchan and he did nothing to clear the air. He thinks we are on two completely different levels and that he is struggling with certain things in his observance that I am nowhere near struggling with. He thinks I am far superior to him in these matters and that I have dealt with these issues long ago. However, this gets more confusing because he does think we have potential for the future even though he is not ready now. He thinks he needs to take some time to work on himself and that perhaps he will be ready at some point. I am not really sure what to do with this. I am furious at the person who set us up for withholding this information. I am mad at the boy for continuing to conceal the truth from me, which is completely geneivat da’at. Furthermore, I do not think it is practical for me to sit around and wait for this boy to come to his senses and realize that we are on the same page religiously. I can not simply bring my dating life to a halt as he tries to “figure himself out.” I am at a crossroads, but I have nowhere to turn. Do you have any words of sagely advice to offer me?

Thanks for your help,

He Pleaded the Fifth

Dear “He Pleaded the Fifth,”

I am sorry you are finding yourself in this predicament. I think that one of the most difficult parts of dating is going in with the knowledge that you may not know all the details necessary to determine if you and your partner are fit for one another. I think that you have an obligation to tell the person who set you up that she was wrong about this boy and ask her to be more careful in the future. Not to reprimand her, but rather to help her make more educated shidduchim without withholding unnecessary details from either party. I think that while you find yourself in a very uncomfortable position with this young man, you are not at a crossroads. As difficult as it may be, he has made it clear that he does not want to pursue this relationship and thus you have no decisions to make. As difficult as it might be, you have to try to move on. Give yourself some time and then go on dates and continue to search for the right one. The first days following your break-up are bound to be long and hard, but do not despair! Make a Google Doc for your friends to fill out so you can keep busy and spend time with them. Delete his number from your phone and text a friend instead for company whenever you feel as though you may reach out to him. Daven, and whatever happens is all part of God’s plan—and have faith that it is!

Im yirtzeh Hashem by you,

Shoshy Goldstein

By Shoshy Goldstein

 Shoshy Goldstein (a pseudonym) is in the “dating parsha,” but she has great intrinsic instincts that her friends and family members have sought out when they have questions about dating etiquette. Ask Shoshy your own questions by emailing [email protected]. Disclaimer: This column is not intended to replace professional advice.

 

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