Financial Agreements

Hilchos Rechilus — Closing Illustrations (continued)

The Chofetz Chaim continues his discussion of shidduchim. In this segment, he discusses financial arrangements. As in any other agreement between two sides, both the chasan’s and kallah’s

families must honor any financial commitments that were made prior to the engagement.

What if someone knows that one side cannot or will not honor his commitment? If the engagement has not yet taken place, one would be allowed to reveal this information, if the five conditions listed in Day 107 have been met. If the couple is already engaged, then one can only reveal the information if the result will not be contrary to halachah. If the party will react by immediately breaking the shidduch without having someone speak to the other side or without consulting a rav, then the information should not be provided.

Too many partnerships have been destroyed and friendships ruined by well-meaning people who incited one side against the other.

The firm of Stellman and Stone had been in business for thirty years, and was one of the most solid, successful businesses of its kind. Then, one day, Chaim Stellman was approached by a good friend, Arnie Manfeld.

“Chaim, someone told me that the profits in your business are divided 55-45 with Norman (Stone) taking the larger share. Is that correct?”

“Well, yes, that was our agreement when we first started the business. You see, we started the firm with Norman’s money and he is the smarter businessman. We agreed

from the start that I would be a junior partner.”

“Chaim, what’s the matter with you? That was thirty years ago! By now, you should be an equal partner. Don’t let Stone cheat you out of what’s rightfully yours.”

Until that day, the two partners had been close friends and their business relationship was one of mutual respect. From that day on, things changed. Incited by his friend Arnie, Chaim demanded to be an equal partner. Norman turned down the request, though he felt bad and tried his best to explain his position. After two months of haggling, the two partners were no longer on speaking terms. Six months later, the partnership was dissolved.

While the above story is fiction, similar stories have actually happened. It is crucial that Jews be well versed in the laws of lashon hara and rechilus and make sure that their conversation is guided by these laws.

Extreme caution must be exercised when offering negative information to a party in a partnership.

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© 2020 Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation

© 2020 Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation