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Delicate Situation

Dovid and Chana are going out seriously. This seems like a match made in heaven [and Teaneck as well]. He is a diligent learner who is well liked by all of his friends and teachers in Yeshiva. She is a true Bas Yisrael whose sterling character and modest demeanor make her a role model for all.

But wait, it is not so simple [is it ever...]: When Dovid was in high school he suffered from mental illness and was taking medication to help manage his problems. The question is, must he tell her of his past before getting married. Of course if he must and refuses to do so then it would be a MITZVA for someone else to come forward and inform Chana [if the person is certain that the information is correct and he has approached Dovid who has nevertheless refused to comply and inform the unsuspecting kallah].

Apparently it would depend: If he still suffering from this illness, or there is reason to assume that there might be a relapse then he is obligated to inform her. If he is still taking medication he also must tell her. But if he has completely recovered and his past will not affect his wife in the future then he need not tell her. [See Tshuvos V'hanhagos 2/624 who suggests that the halacha would be different if the kallah is the one who was ill.]

Two important points:

1] If this ever comes up please consult a major Torah scholar and ask what the correct course of action is. Sometimes when one is overly careful about lashon hara he transgresses the prohibition of "Don't stand by idly when your brother's blood is being spilled" - Spilled blood includes a bad marriage or business partnership. When one DOES speak lashon hara he is guilty of murder. Sometimes one must speak up. At other times - remain silent.

2] Dovid and Chana are fictitious characters. They were invented tonight on my computer. I have never met a Dovid or a Chana with mental illness. I wish them much success in their fictitious life together. Mazel Tov!

It would probably be prudent to ask a mental health professional in such a situation if someone can "completely" recover from something like that.

Forgetting chiyuv, it would be *wise* to tell one's future spouse, so they can be aware of what to look for and how to help.

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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