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Reading background reports for purposes of shidduchim

Question
I am currently in the middle of meetings with a possible shidduch. I would assume that for the purposes of shidduchim, I may read background reports on a prospective spouse. I want to know if this assumption is correct. I also wanted to add that I am the kind of person that is very unsuccessful in obtaining helpful information from references. If I feel that I can better understand a prospective spouse this way by reading a background may I feel free to do so? I would also like to know if this is generally true or does it only apply in cases where one is specifically warned about a person’s background or is aware that is a certain history?
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. The laws of Lashon HaRah (gossip) certainly apply to speaking and listening to gossip about a sidduch. However, here the laws are, interestingly, to be applied with an emphasis that is usually lacking. Whilst, in general, the laws of Lashon HaRah place great care on not speaking badly about another person – in relation to a sidduch, one needs to make sure that one speaks (and listens to) things that will help and benefit a person looking to get married. More often than not, when it comes to a shidduch, people sin by refraining from saying things that should have been revealed. Of course, this must be applied within the law – but the laws of Lashon HaRah allow talk that is for benefit – and making a good happy marriage is certainly a benefit. With this in mind – yes, you should read background reports about perspective shidduchim. This is true as long as the reports were written within the framework of the laws of Lashon HaRah (which I assume they are). This is not only allowed, but is to be recommended. This applies to every perspective person you have a desire to go out with. May you be blessed to find a wonderful spouse, and build a faithful house within Israel. Blessings.
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