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Rebbetzin betrays trust

Rabbi Jonathan Blass18 Nisan 5763
747
Question
I am completely horrified. I have confided in the Rebbetzin of my shul some extremely deeply personal confidential things about my life and a friend. I have just found out from her, that she took the information she had absolutely promised to keep to herself, and went to my friend and confronted him with it, and proceeded to probe him for information and what she has done is cause irrepairable damage between us. He asked me not to talk to her, however, because she promised she would not divuldge any information and would help me with advice, I trusted her. I told him that I wouldn’t talk to her. Because of his position in the community, I had no one else to talk to. I trusted her. I really trusted her. How can I ever be assured again that anything I say to a member of the clergy or the Rebbetzin would be confidential. Isn’t the Rebbetzin held accountable at all? I am completely horrifed. I don’t know what to think. I went to this woman and trusted her, and she betrayed my trust. Is this an example of what one should expect from a Rebbetzin? Now I am wondering if the Rabbi is trustable. I also told him very confidential things about myself. I am so distraught. How could someone in her position do this?
Answer
You should speak to the rebbetzin directly and ask her why she divulged the information you relayed to her in confidence. You are bound by the commandments not to hate your brother in your heart but rather to raise your criticisms with him (VaYikra 19 17). I understand that you are angry and disappointed and that speaking to the person you believe betrayed your trust requires a mental and moral effort on your part, but not all mitzvot are easy. Your speaking to her may give you information you don't have now or may cause her to realize that she erred. You should note that there are circumstances when the rebbetzin would be obligated to pass on what you told her even if you asked her not to do so. This, for example, if passing on the information were necessary to prevent a crime or to prevent damage to persons (to you or to somebody else) or to property. I am not aware of the circumstances of the case so I do not know if such considerations existed. Speak to the rebbetzin you feel wronged you and tell her how hurt you are and why and see how she explains her actions. B'Hatzlacha!
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