Question:

Is it a problem under Cherem D’Rabeinu Gershom to listen to a WhatsApp message intended for someone else?
What if the person it was sent to is listening to it in public?
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Answer:

There are a number of reasons given for the Cherem D’rabeinu Gershom not to open other people’s private letters etc. The Halachos K’tanos (1-276) says that it is because it is rechilus to reveal other people’s secrets. The Toras Chaim (3-46) says that it is because of geneiva (or geneivas daas), and because of mazik, as very often because it causes damage to the other person. In shut Chikikei Lev Y:D 49 D:H U’mata) says that it is because of vahavta l’reiacha k’mocha, to be considerate of others.

Therefore a WhatsApp message that is intended for a specific person, and not meant to be read by others would be included in the cherem. However if the person himself is listening to it in public, obviously he doesn’t mind others knowing about and it would be permitted..

Sources:

Harav Yisroel Pesach Feinhandler zt”l (personal letter dated 10th of Kislev 5769).

Tags: e-mail theft

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