By Another anonymous
There is a tendency among the dramatically-inclined to jump on a morsel of ‘juicy’ news and run headlong into assumptions without putting on the brakes to verify it. Such people create such complex misunderstandings as would be comical – if they weren’t so sad.
Case in point:
Recently, a poignant article was posted on COLlive.com by a writer who was struggling with mental health issues while trying to navigate the shidduch world. The writer described herself as an accountant (although, possibly that is not her real profession since she wished to remain anonymous).
The bad news is that I also happen to be an accountant in Crown Heights. That would explain why a woman I barely know come over to me in shul and expressed her sincere wish to provide ‘guidance’ and ‘support’ to me.
It was obvious to her that I must be the writer of the article because I am female, frum, single and work as an accountant. But it wasn’t me.
I simply told her that insurance transactions are now online and she can feel free to inspect my medical records at any time. That put an end to that.
To be sure, I wish the writer of that article the best and hope she speedily finds our bashert and builds a Jewish home.
Now, I can only hope that there are not a few hundred other people under the same misapprehension. It seems like an innocent mistake but the ramifications are scary.
And this is the way misunderstanding, misinformation and misrepresentation process through the grand rugged machinery that is the grapevine of small, crowded communities.
Taking unverified information as fact is prohibited in the strongest terms in our Torah and by the teachings of Chassidus. And that is in addition to the basic halachos of loshon hara, rechilus, motzie shem ra – to name a few.
Putting on a sympathetic and loving face while believing or passing on the information does not make one an iota less responsible for perpetrating an injustice of the first order and holding back all the blessings one needs for family and self.
There are plenty of newspapers and tabloids out there publishing ‘fake news’. The well-being of a fellow Jew and their precious reputation requires fact over fiction.
If you must vilify, please first verify.