I am asked about a boy for a possible shidduch. I “heard” he has OCD problems, although not manifest and I have not personally seen it when I have previously interacted with him. I am asked, “does he have any problems like OCD?” What should be my response?
Another person advised me not to say anything in the above case, since I have only second-hand knowledge. So I responded to him, “Let’s say you told me you were hiring a babysitter for your children. And, I “heard” that this particular babysitter used “harsh” behavior management techniques on children. I have no direct knowledge of this information though. Still, I heard this info from a close acquaintance of mine. Would you want me to share this “unverified” information with you? I think you would!”
What is the Rov’s advice in these situations?
If you don’t know the information first hand, the Chofetz Chaim says that you shouldn’t say it. This would apply especially to something like OCD, which is a term many people use about others very generously, and generally. You may however say that the person should do his investigations thoroughly, (although I don’t know exactly how you will be able to say this in a way that will not sound like you are deliberately hiding something).
The whole topic of lashon hora l’toeles is a balance between the obligation not to hurt the person being spoken about and not hurting the person that needs the information. Therefore we have the rules of when we are allowed to talk and when not. If the person that needs the information is someone very close to you, then you would have more of an obligation to say something, but otherwise, the way it sounds from your question you shouldn’t say.