Sefer Chofetz Chaim appendix halachos 9-11 & conclusion of Sefer Chofetz Chaim

 We have concluded Sefer Chofetz Chaim with all of his Be’er Mayim Chaim footnotes. Yasher Koach, it’s been glorious learning the whole entire time! Next week we are starting the mussar sefer, Maalos Hamidos, considered a classic but not as well known.

Halacha 9: Up until this point The Chofetz Chaim was talking about shidduchim in the stage of dating or pre-dating, while still researching. Now, once a couple is already engaged is a whole different story. In terms of a person realizing thatvthe perspective father in law of the guy is not planning on following through with the conditions of support that he agreed with the chosson if you find out about this then you can tell the chosson only if you know that chosson won’t automatically break up the engagement but rather will only be concerned with what you say and seek advice and research about what to do or will go to a Jewish Court for assistance. However, if he will act on his own you can’t tell him anything even if you meet all the conditions because you can’t allow him to do something that would not be done in court. The court would not break up the shidduch, ruin the girl, on account of her father. They would enforce the tannaim, conditions of support that was officially agreed upon or at least settle with some compromise. You also have to be sure the guy isn’t hiding anything on his end either. Furthermore, there are many times when you might hear something but it’s a threat or an exaggeration. For example, there is a gemara in Shavuos daf 46a about, for example, Reuvain told Shimon I am going to cut down Levi’s tree. Shimon can only tell Levi that in order so that he can protect his tree, his property but if Levi will go and hurt Reuvain then Shimon cannot say anything because people get angry or what not and say things they don’t mean and then regret what they said and do Teshuva immediately. This doesn’t only apply to a sin between man and Hashem, that one should assume he repents and you cannot speak lashon hara about him, but even in this case where he does not owe any money yet, he didn’t steal anything or the like, the future father in law just threatened to not live up to what he promised, it’s very possible it’s just a threat and nothing more so you can’t say anything if the guy will break off the marriage without seeking advice.

Halacha 10:  However in a case where you know the girl has a medical condition that can’t be seen from the outside and the guy doesn’t know about it then even after the engagement you can tell him, and you don’t need to be two witnesses, because a Jewish court would break up an engagement even if one person testified of health issues in this case. But of course you have to meet all the conditions spoken in chapter 9 halacha 2 of hilchos rechilus. If you only heard second hand of the medical conditions, then you shouldn’t say anything unless you know for sure the guy won’t break off the engagement before researching. Because many times once there is a stigma, even if it’s just rumors it messes up the relationship. Either way you should say “I heard ” she has a certain medical issue, and the guy can look into it. Himself.

Halacha 11: However, if you know about the girl that she comes from an immodest home, pritzus, or the guy has views antithetical of basic Torah belief, apikorsus, then even after the engagement you can relay this information to either side without any conditions and if they break up they break up. If you only hear second hand you have to say you only heard second hand and they should do their own research, same as before, no difference.

The Chofetz Chaim concludes that he could give more examples in business, hiring workers, etc. But he has said enough and there is not much more time available to elaborate. But in conclusion: “The rule is, a person must focus his eyes and his heart on his ways, specifically on what comes out of his mouth, so that one won’t get.

involved in other people’s matters unless you truthfully know the issue clearly from the start. And one also must intend only to help the cause and not to speak out of hatred. Also, to see the ramifications of what you are about to say to be sure you don’t G-d forbid speak to much, outside the fence of halacha. Only then will one be at the point where he has escaped the trap of the yetzer hara. May The Rock Of Israel save us from mistakes and show us insights from His incredible Torah. Blessed is Hashem forever amen and amen!” We have concluded the second part of Sefer Chofetz Chaim.

Sefer Chofetz Chaim appendix halachos 6-8

There are 2 types of major problems that if someone knows about a shidduch he should tell the other side before they start going out, even if they are not confronted about it. 1. If the guy has a physical ailment, disease etc. a serious medical issue. Not just that he is physically a weak person because many yeshiva bachurim are physically weaker, for example. Chazal say Torah learning weakens a person physically. But a serious illness which the other side does not know about which can’t be seen from the outside should be told to the girl or boy’s side if you know they will listen and not go through with the shidduch. Or at least ask a question of advice to someone before taking the next step. Of course one has to meet all the prerequisites:

A. First see if the ailment is really a problem, not that he or she is just frail.

B. Don’t exaggerate the problem more than it is.

C. Give over information to the other party for the sake of helping and only assuming they will heed your advice not because you hate the guy or girl you are talking about. The terms of trying to find another solution before speaking up don’t really apply because they have to be told not to go through with the shidduch if it’s a major concern.

Another major concern that can be shared is whether there are signs of apikorsus. That, even on a very minuscule level there is something wrong with his fundamental belief in Torah Judaism. In that case if you know it’s true then you have an obligation to tell the other side and all rules are off because he is not considered part of “your nation” anymore. If you only hear about this secondhand, then you have to say you heard about this but not sure myself if it’s true so you should be concerned and look into the matter. Just as he himself is only allowed to be concerned and not actually believe it if it’s secondhand knowledge. However, one must be very careful because there is a difference between a lack of belief in the fundamental beliefs of Tofah Judaism and not being fully Torah observant or lacks in some areas of halacha where he is still considered part if “your nation” and speaking out about a lack of Torah observance will most likely result in lashon hara and certainly would need all the prerequisites if somehow it is permitted to be told. The same holds true about the girl’s side, if she or her household seem to be or act grossly immodest then there is no issue of telling the boy about it as long as you know he will not go out or at least ask a question if he should. If he’s going to date her anyways then it lashon hara to tell the boy.

In terms of Torah knowledge, one cannot go over to the girl’s side and tell them the boy isn’t as knowledgeable as you think or is a slow learner etc. However, if they inquire and they have every right to inquire, and back in the day people would have someone test the boy before going out with their daughter. That is fine and the tester has to be honest with the girl’s parents when he reports back. Of course, this would all be within reason. Meaning the standards that a Rabbi or Rosh Yeshiva is expecting for his daughter will probably be higher than a regular layman, so if the layman asks for the a smart guy in the yeshiva, even if he isn’t the top guy then you can still say he is very knowledgeable, but if a Rosh yeshiva asks for the top guy of some other yeshiva and the tester doesn’t say he is not the top guy then there is an issue of dishonesty because there are higher expectations. Also, if the girl’s father is going to be supporting, he wants to support someone of the caliber he is asking for, for his daughter.

One other major issue what if one knows the girl’s father cannot or will not give the support, he claims he will give. Let say for example you know her family is in fact poor, or the father is a miser, or the father even told you he is not going to be giving as much as he promised. Then before telling this to the guy there are 3 conditions that must be met:

 1. Make sure the girl’s father really is trying to trick the boy because there are many times where a person who is not so rich and promises a lot of support is prepared to work very hard to fulfill his promise and this father-in-law can be better than a rich father-in-law.

2. You have to know that the boy would really be uninterested in the shidduch if he finds out he is not getting the support he was expecting. Because if he doesn’t care so much and would marry her anyways, he’ll just get any help he can get from his in-laws then you can’t say anything.

3. You have to make sure the boy isn’t hiding something and tricking the other side also. Of course, you can’t exaggerate the trickery and can’t say it out of hatred just to help. At the end of the day, one has to be very careful and not rush into revealing information, rather thoroughly think through all the facts and information, meat all the conditions and then decide to speak up or not.

Sefer Chofetz Chaim hilchos rechilus appendix, halacha 4, 5

In terms of shidduchim, if a boy is being set up with a girl and you know of a major character flaw or any other major issue of the boy or vice versa then you have to tell the other side if they don’t know. Halacha 6 will define what’s a major flaw and we’ll discuss all the many complex parameters of how to reveal to the perspective shidduch. However unfortunately people are very quick to tell others about a perspective shidduch information that does not need to be shared, maybe they have good intentions because they don’t want anyone to be hurt if the shidduch goes through but if the information isn’t a serious problem, then it need not be shared and ruin a person’s identity. For example, if a guy is simple minded and people take advantage of him, or if he is serious and does not joke around too much. To make the guy look like a fool and ruin him is uncalled for, and there is no reason to tell the other side of frivolous flaws whether it is true or in true. People who go around peddling character flaws which are insignificant should not be listened to and people who listen, even if they at first are innocent and just listening nervously, will eventually stand by and listen and if they continue they will sit down and listen attentively and join into the mocking of others. The baalei lashon hara that speak it are causing the public to sin and the best thing to do is not to confront them with rebuke but rather just to stay away. Whether they are making fun of the boy or girl themselves or their family it’s all the same. Even if the flaws might be true, to meet all the rules in order to be allowed to say it is pretty much impossible in these situations. There are situations which we will elaborate on, b’ezras Hashem, that one could say something before dating starts but once they are going out and don’t see the issues with each other it is no point bringing up and highlighting those type of issues.

Sefer Chofetz Chaim Appendix Halachos 2, 3

Halacha 2: If Reuvain and Shimon are already partners in business and you know Reuvain had a bad nature previously, either too lazy or not responsible with other people’s money, or under qualified, or poor now, then if you know that Shimon will only take what you say into account and be on top of things, like constantly checking the books that they are not losing money then you can warm him, albeit fulfilling on the conditions discussed earlier. But if you know that Shimon will take you seriously and take action to hurt Reuvain or immediately fire him without taking him to court then you can’t tell Shimon about Reuvain because who knows if Teuvain has changed. There is no indication right now that he’ll ruin the business. Maybe he shaped up or is better qualified than before. All you ate doing is definitely ruining Reuvain’s life, on a possibility that Shikon might be in trouble. Certainly, saying something on your own would be a problem if Shimon takes immediate action but even if you came with someone else as witnesses still it would be rechilus because if they would testify in court there would still be no grounds to fire him or hurt him in anyway. But if there are grounds to have him fired if brought to court then that was discussed earlier in hilchos rechilus 9:1,2, on what to do. Also, if you see the way things are going now in the partnership is going downhill, and Reuvain doesn’t notice that, then you can tell him, of course with meeting all the conditions discussed so that Reuvain won’t lose a lot of money.

 Halacha 3: It is one thing to not speak badly about people but it’s another thing to give people bas advice to join with someone who will be harmful to them. That would be lifnei iver, placing a stumbling block in front of the blind and a very grave sin. So one cannot intentionally set up a shidduch or a business partnership, or tell someone to hire an electrician, plumber, etc. Which you would not do yourself in his same shoes because you know there is a problem because you will only be making trouble and that is forbidden. Unfortunately, many people give bad advice to make gain attention or to make money for themselves but it’s an unbelievable sin! Good Shabbos, Rabbi Dovid Shmuel Milder

Sefer Chofetz Chaim appendix

 After all the halachos are spelled out, here are some more cases to apply them. Scenario 1: If Reuvain wants to go into business with Shimon and you know that Reuvain is. ad natured in his money dealings, which means he’s not a hard worker because he is lazy and doesn’t put enough effort into his work or because he actively runs businesses, maliciously, and you know this firsthand then you have a right and obligation to tel Shimon about it and advise not to become partners with Reuvain. As long as all the conditions are met. However if Reuvain is just unsuccessful, he has a hard time making money even though he is a hard worker, or he just lost his money in a big business debacle then you can’t inform Shimon and advise him to not become partners with this poor person because success is in the hands of Hashem, and who knows, Hashem might grant Reuvain success with Shimon and they can build a successful business together. But if Shimon goes over to you and asks you about Reuvain then you don’t have to lie because he’s concerned about the situation that he heard about and has a right to be naturally concerned. You just can’t create concerns which aren’t guaranteed concerns in Shimon’s head. If you are concerned that Reuvain is not trustworthy since he lost all his money who says that’s true? He has not list his chezkas kashrus, he is still known to be honest and hard working!? Why is his blood any redder than Shimon’s blood you are causing him to lose an opportunity over a concern that he still might not be successful and will bring Shikon down with him, who says! Even if he has a track record of recently getting help from others and not being able to pay them back, maybe that will change now.. on the contrary Shimon has a chance to fulfill the highest level of tzedaka according to the Shulcham Aruch’s 8 levels of tzedaka in Yoreh Deah 249:6. The highest level is giving a poor person a job or partnering with him in business so that he can make his own money instead of being given free money. The Shulchan Aruch quote a pasuk in Yeshaya 32:17, “And the actions of tzedaka are peace” which teaches us that one cannot be damaged by giving or doing tzedaka to someone else in need. This is to the extent that even when it is close to shmita the Torah still requires you to make loans to the poor at the risk of the loan being annulled by shmita. Certainly anyone else telling a person not to lend to the poor at that time is committing a sin. If the guy was hiding that he is poor and you know otherwise and know that he messed over other people because of his poverty then you can certainly tell Shimon if he inquires but the Chofetz Chaim wasn’t hesitant to allow one to reveal that Reuvain is poor. The Chofetz Chaim ‘s ultimate advice if you are unsure of the exact situation is to just say”I don’t know how to advise you, because I don’t know the situation clearly.”

Sefer Chofetz Chaim hilchos rechilus chapter 9 halachos 14, 15

Dear Chevra,

Thursday we officially unofficially finished Sefer Chofetz Chaim but there is an appendix (addendum) in the end which will take another few weeks. But we are almost there!!

Halacha 14: If someone does something not nice to someone else, like a prank, and he doesn’t know who did it. If let say Reuvain goes over to Shimon, thinking Shimon did it to him and asked who pranked me? Shimon, even if he suspects that Reuvain thinks he’s the culprit still cannot say the name of who did, even if he saw exactly what happened, unless it’s a situation which meets the criteria and conditions to let him know. Rather Shimon should just say “I didn’t do it.” However, let say there was a vote against a person in a city council meeting ir a case like this of a vote and the majority of the vote went against that person and that person asked someone on the city council who voted against him. The councilman can’t say “I don’t know”, or “I voted on your favor,” because it’s more likely he will find out who actually ruled against him. It is best just to say “This is an official matter that can’t be divulged to anyone.” Or the like.

Halacha 15: A business scenario: Let’s say a merchant comes to town with his good and Chaim saw a product he wanted and told the merchant he’ll be back with the money. In the meantime, many other people come to look at the merchandise and someone buys the product that was put on the side for Chaim. The buyer pushed and urged the merchant very much, in a very annoying manner possibly, to sell him the product and the merchant finally acquiesced. Even though the buyer might be in the wrong since it’s a prohibition called chamas or extortion, which is forcefully buying something against the will or at least the complete will, of the seller, though it is still a valid sale if you “convinced” him to sell it and made a valid acquisition on the item, nevertheless, when Chaim goes back to the merchant with his money and asks for the product he set on the side. The merchant can’t tell Chaim the name of the buyer to Chaim and say this guy came and forced me to sell him the product. He threw the money at me, took the item and ran off, and I didn’t want to fight with him. This is considered outright rechilus because the sale is done and the merchant is only instilling hatred into Chaim’s heart. What’s even worse is that many times the buyer didn’t even apply so much pressure on the merchant but then he sold it to him anyways, either because the merchant knows the buyer, or sees he wanted to buy more stuff, or was willing to pay more for the item, or for whatever reason and the merchant does not care, he just wants his money. So when Chaim comes back and the merchant doesn’t want the blame he just blames the buyer that he was forced to sell it. This isn’t just rechilus, but it’s a lie so it is motzi shem ra. The same is true if the buyer didn’t pay for the item yet but just took it and said he’ll pay for it later or there was an agreement made to pay in installments later, which means the condition is the acquisition will take place retroactively, still the point being as soon as he picked it up or pulled it, making some kind of acquisition then it’s too late, it is his and the deal is done so the merchant can’t say who he sold it to. Even if the merchant blames it all on himself, apologizes, but says who he sold it to, still Chaim will hate him so he can’t say. All the merchandise can say is, I sold it to someone else by accident.

The Chofetz Chaim concludes, “know, that all that we wrote in this book about how careful one must be from the sin of lashon hara, only applies when speaking about a person who is a part of ‘your nation’. But those people who deny the Torah of Hashem, even one letter, and those that make fun of the words of the rabbis, it’s a mitzvah to publicize their false views before everybody, and to denigrate them, so that people won’t learn from their bad deeds. We have finished the rules regarding the prohibitions if lashon hara and rechilus.”

Sefer Chofetz Chaim hilchos rechilus chapter 9 halacha 13

The conditions discussed in halacha 12 to be able to help someone out who was ripped off, either overcharged or given a lesser quality product then expected, can only be used if you know the buyer would not take action into his own hands, but rather would take the seller to court but if he is known to take matters into his own hands you can’t tell him he was ripped off unless you meet 3 more conditions:

1. You yourself saw the product he bought and know he paid too much for the quality of that item. It can’t be secondhand knowledge. That most likely means you must be an expert at making evaluations. This is because, just as a court won’t accept secondhand testimony, so to in this case where he will take matters into his own hand, you must treat it like a court case.

 2. You can’t tell him alone, it has to be told by two people, as witnesses since the court would not extract money from someone without two witnesses, unless it is well know what the value of the item is and the court would not need witnesses to prove that he was ripped off, then you can go over to him as an individual to inform him he was ripped off, since this would be no different than a court.

3. But this is impossible if you know he won’t do anything to rash beyond what the court would sentence, but if he will take action, for example, leave the item in the store and steal some money, or another item from that store, or do any other unlawful thing which is more than what a court would enforce to be done, then you can’t tell him he was ripped off.

 In any event the chances of meeting all the conditions to be able to talk are very slight, especially since there are times that you might speak up out of hatred for the company he bought from. But even if you meet all the conditions, that just means you don’t have a prohibition of lashon hara, but you are helping him to sin because he wants to take care of things on his own and not through the courts. Even if many people told him he’s in the right and the store is in the wrong but he still didn’t go through the courts to fix the situation.

There are many times unfortunately now a days where a person buys a product, let’s say for example he signs an agreement to install new windows into his home, and maybe will pay in increments. He then tells his friend all about it and his friend says owe you were ripped off the going rate is this much. But the reality is prices fluctuate and you have to make sure you know the latest value, and when he bought the items before you can say anything like that to him, because all you are doing otherwise is instilling hatred into the buyer towards the seller and the seller might not have done anything wrong. You can be giving him bad advice, starting and amplifying a big argument and transgressing many sins like lashon hara if you don’t meet the conditions, placing a stumbling block in front of the blind by advising him to unlawfully return the item or any other idea which would cause a loss to the seller (assuming the item doesn’t have a return policy). You will also be transgressing the sin of starting a fight and the ensuing sins that will follow as the fight potentially escalates. It’s better to not say a thing and keep to yourself unless you absolutely know and are confident you are doing the right thing, and with G-d’s help, everything works out without any problems.

Sefer Chofetz Chaim hilchos rechilus chapter 9 halachos 11, 12

 If one has already been overcharged or given an inferior quality product, the question of whether you can tell him about it really depends if he can do something about it. If he was charged over a a sixth of the going rate, then you can tell him and he can get his extra money back. If it was less than a sixth of the going rate, then we assume there is automatic forgiveness of being overcharged because it is within reason so you can’t tell him he was overcharged and it would constitute rechilus if you do. Even if he has not fully paid for what he bought, he has installments, and still can’t tell him, lest he does not pay the rest that he had originally agreed he owed. If it was an inferior or faulty product and he can still return it then you can tell him but if it is after the return policy then you can’t tell him and you should even praise the product if he asks you about it. That’s not transgressing lying because you are coming to avoid the prohibition of rechilus. This is based on a gemara I’m Kesubos 17a. If you know the person is the type of person that even if you tell him he was ripped off he won’t do anything about it, like he’ll be too lazy to return it or to call up and go through the hastle of getting some of his money back, and he’ll only have hatred towards the salesman for what happened then you can’t tell him either unless you know you can stop him from buying from there again. Of course, you have to meet the 5 conditions before being allowed to speak up:

1. You can’t exaggerate.

2. Your intent must be just to help your oppressed friend; therefore, it is highly likely that a competitor of the store he bought at can’t tell him that he was ripped off.

3. If you can rebuke the salesman and he will go over to the buyer and fix the problem then you should do that without telling the buyer.

4. If you can figure out a way to inform him of what happened without saying it straight out you should do so, for example if you can indirectly direct him to an advertisement, commercial, or article about the product he bought and he sees he was ripped off and will fix the situation on his own then you should do that and not tell him. We see that Hashem did a similar thing when he told Yehoshua to make a lottery to reveal that Achan was the one who was putting the entire Jewish nation in peril for the sin that he committed.

 5. If you see that the buyer by nature is a big talker and he will go over to the seller and name you as telling him that he was ripped off then it’s not so simple that you can tell him (and I am not sure if you would want to tell him) because you will be causing him to speak rechilus since he will tell the storekeeper who he got his information from. But if he promises not to drop any names then you can tell him.

Sefer Chofetz Chaim hilchos rechilus chapter 9 halacha 10

An example of a very delicate situation where one might be able to speak out: You know that your friend is a simpleton you know can be duped very easily and you also know that the store owner who he is about to walk into will take advantage of him, whether to convince to buy something he doesn’t want to buy, deceive him with wrong weight or measurement or just over charge him, definitely if he would charge more than a sixth of the going price, then you must tell him about this store and that he shouldn’t even enter it. Even if your friend had already made an agreement to buy from him. Definitely if you know for a fact that the merchant is planning on tricking him then he has to tell his friend. Let say the merchant tells his friend this is something which you must buy because every6is going to have it soon, and it’s a lie. Or if he tries over charging the friend, if more than a sixth for sure and if less than a sixth, there is a sfeika didina if he can tell him, because on th tone hand the Shulchan Aruch poskins (CHOSHEN Mishpat 227:6) that can’t trick person into over charging him even less than a sixth, but the Rosh poskins you can, but there is also an issue of lashon hara, so it’s better to be passive and say nothing for less than a sixth overcharging. But any amount of measuring or weighing wrong must be called out, but again as long as you meet all the conditions. There is in fact an argument between the Sm”a and Ta”z whether you get a sin for speaking up out of hatred though you are also just trying to help (potential) victims. The Sm”a ( Choshen Mishpat 421:28) says you would still be transgressing a sin. But the Ta”z there says that since you are doing a mitzva of protecting someone then you don’t get a sin just because you speak out, out of anger. However, it is most likely that you’ll run into other problems if you speak up out of anger because you’ll probably jump to conclusions to quickly,

Exaggerate, and might harm the would-be perpetrator more than he deserves and in that case you would be forbidden to speak up. In terms of the fourth condition, if you can get the person to leave the store, or not walk in without speaking the rechilus, you can do that if this might be a onetime thing, or you don’t know of past history that the storekeeper is a swindler. But if you know he is always a swindler then you should say something in order so that word will spread, and you can get the thief off the streets.

Sefer Chofetz Chaim Hilchos Rechilus chapter 9 halachos 6-9

These slew of halachos are a recap with some added extra points of what we already know. In halacha 5 the Chofetz Chaim said that if two people, like witnesses tell an employer, for example, who will act on his own and fire the employee, if they tell him he is a thief, that is permissible assume they meet the 5 conditions because they are getting done what would most likely happen in court. However, this only means they don’t transgress the prohibition of speaking rechilus however they are helping the employer do a sin because he doesn’t have the right to act spontaneously and take matters into his own hands without investigating or taking his employee to court, so it’s better to say nothing to these type of people, or at least be extremely careful before talking up, besides the fact of meeting all these conditions to be allowed to speak is very slim as well.

Also, just telling a victim of how someone stole from him or hurt him, granted you might want to be quick to help the victim or make sure nothing worse happens to him, but you have to be very careful to meet all the conditions first before helping the guy and telling the victim who was the perpetrator in order to get his stolen goods back or paid up for damages caused to him. You should also rebuke the perpetrator first and if he does not listen and act to fix things on his own then you can tell the victim in the appropriate manner.

It makes no difference whether someone confronts you asking about what happened or if you voluntarily tell someone. If you meet all the conditions, it is permitted and a mitzvah to help him and if not then it is a sin. We see that Hashem didn’t even tell Yehoshua that Achan took the spoils of Ai, which put the entire Jewish nation into peril, until the lottery was cast Achan admitted himself of his wrongdoing because Hashem didn’t want to speak lashon hara since there was other means to reveal the wrongdoer.

Even if you aren’t telling the victims but just telling the story to other people it is only permissible if the 5 conditions of talking are met.