- Question: [Tuesday, 28th Adar 5783]
Our child who is now of Shidduchim age had suffered in the past from a certain medical condition. Am I required to inform the matchmaker, or other side, when my child is set up, of this past medical condition or not? I do fear that it can ruin my child’s chances to get a Shidduch.
In general, it is an obligation upon anyone who holds information of a serious medical condition regarding an individual, to inform the other side by a Shidduch. Nonetheless, there are cases where this information can be withheld such as regarding a past condition that’s no longer relevant, or a treatable condition that will reach full recovery, or a nonserious condition. Practically, due to the complexity of this matter in determining what type of condition must be revealed, as well as the stage of the Shidduch in which it must be revealed, you are to consult with a Rav and give them over all the details of the condition for him to direct you in regards to a) if you must reveal this information and b) at what stage it must be revealed.
Explanation: It is stated in Shulchan Aruch, that one is to abstain from marrying an individual with a family history of health problems. Certainly, every individual has the right to know what they are marrying into by a potential Shidduch, in order so they can make a proper decision of whether they want to go through with the match, and not cause them to have potential marital conflict when this is discovered after the wedding. So is explicitly ruled in the Sefer Chassidim who states that by Shidduchim one should not conceal medical issues that they or their relatives may have. Hiding this information from the potential bride or groom, aside from being trickery and a Mekach Taus of business laws, may transgress the prohibition of Lo Samod Al Dam Reiacha. This obligation to inform the other side of a serious medical condition falls upon anyone who has this information, whether the matchmaker, or a friend or relative. Hiding this information from the other side may transgress the prohibition of Lo Samod Al Dam Reiacha as stated above. This obligation of informing the other side applies even if the couple is already engaged, and giving over this information can break the Shidduch.
Nonetheless, this only applies by a serious medical condition which most people would think twice before entering into in a marriage. However, a nonserious medical condition of which most people would not think twice about is not required to be informed about by Shidduchim.
Now, the million-dollar question is what is considered a serious versus a nonserious medical condition? How is this determined? We have a few examples brought in today’s Poskim.
- A serious disease in one of the inner organs of the body must be revealed. This would include diabetes, and epilepsy, or if he has a missing organ such as only one kidney or no gallbladder.
- Cancer must be revealed.
- HIV positive must be revealed.
- Inability to have children is a serious medical condition that must be revealed. If however it is questionable whether one can have children, and it is not certain that one can’t, then some Poskim side that there is no need for a man to inform of this. Others however disagree and say that any condition in the reproductive organs that can interfere with having children must be revealed.
- A psychiatric condition for which one is currently taking psychiatric medication is considered a serious condition that must be informed on during the Shidduch.
The following are some other recorded exceptions:
- A past medical condition that has since been cured and of which there is no lasting effect, there is no obligation to inform. Likewise, a past psychiatric condition does not have to be informed of if the individual has since been cured of it and is no longer taking any medication, and the chances of it recurring is very low.
- A medical condition which is being currently treated and has high chances of full recovery, does not need to be informed of.
- If one knows for certain that the other side would want to marry the person regardless of the information, then he does not need to inform them and it is even forbidden to do so.
- Certainly, if one is not certain to his medical information regarding the person, then it is forbidden for him to say anything until he finds out for sure.
- If the person himself does not have any medical issues, but has a family history of medical issues, then there is no obligation to inform the other side if the chances of him developing this illness or genetically passing in it on to his children is low [i.e. less than 5%].
Sources: See Yevamos 45a; Michaber C.M. 228:6; Sefer Chassidim 507; Chasam Sofer E.H. 155; Chafetz Chaim 9:4-10; Chelkas Yaakov 3:136; Kehilas Yaakov on yevamos ibid; Chavatzeles Hasharos E.H. Tinyana E.H. 65; Imrei Yosehr 2:104; Igros Modesh E.H. 4:73-2; Tzitz Eliezer 16:4-4; Koveitz Kol Hatorah Gilyon 41; Nishmas Avraham E.H. 4:2; 5:5; Chashukei Chemed Yuma 90b; Emek Halacha -Asia 5746 p. 15; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:879; 2:624; Kaneh Bosem 121; Beir Moshe 8:59-4; Nitei Gavriel Shidduchin 11; Encyclopedia Hilchatit Refuit Vol. 5 p. 794 “Sodiyot Refuiyot”