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loshon hora

Rabbi David SperlingSivan 19, 5771
193
Question
I was at a table of several people and one person was criticising a special needs girl saying that her marriage had ended in divorce as she was not fit to get married. I replied that it just wasn’t meant to be meaning that her marriage hadn’t worked out with this particular guy as he hadn’t been her bashert. I am concerned that this is ambiguous and could have been taken to be agreeing with her that it wasn’t meant to be because she is not fit to marry. Was it loshon hora even though I didn’t mean it to be?
Answer
Shalom, First let me say how impressed I am that the subject of lashon harah is dear to you, and you are trying so hard to practice these laws with utmost care. May we all strengthen ourselves from your example, and (re)commit ourselves to the study and practice of being careful of what we say, and what we listen to. In answer to your question, an ambiguous statement, when made with no intent to harm or criticize, is permitted when spoken in the presence of at least three people. So, it seems that your words "it just wasn't meant to be", which could be interpreted either as being a criticism of special needs marriages, and this lady in particular, or could be understood (as you meant it) as a reaffirmation of the concept of Divine Will in our lives, are not loshon harah if there were three others at the table. (See the work Hafetz Haim, rule 2,2). Blessings.
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