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The Jewish Ethicist – Snitch

The Jewish Ethicist – Snitch
from aish.com by Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem

Q. I have a nasty co-worker who is hard to get along with. I’m thinking of putting him in his place by telling the boss about his frequent tardiness, but should I be afraid of being a “snitch”?

A. The Torah warns us to be very careful about disclosing people’s failings, commanding us “Don’t go about as a talebearer among your people”. But it also warns us to be solicitous of other people’s well-being, commanding us, “Don’t stand idly by the blood of your brother”, which can sometimes require telling someone about other people’s misconduct. In order to highlight the tension between these two mandates, the Torah places them in a single verse. The message is: don’t reveal damaging information unless it is necessary for a constructive purpose, such as protecting someone from harm or loss.