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.

Sefer Chofetz Chaim hilchos rechilus chapter 9 footnote 17

The Chofetz Chaim said that if the employer would immediately act, for example fire the guy he just hired if you tell him he is a thief, instead of just being cautious and keeping a good eye on him then you can’t tell the employer, even if the employee might harm him in some way. The Chofetz Chaim brings several proofs that a single person cannot testify or tell the other person if unlawful action will be taken.

1. Krisos 12a: If 2 witnesses say a kohen for example became tamei and he himself says he didn’t he can eat tahor food like teruma in private but not in public and he can only feed himself the teruma but not others because for himself he is believed to say he is tahor but for other and in the eyes of others he ia considered tamei since there are two witnesses against him. Even if others don’t know there are two witnesses he still can’t feed them teruma or eat it with others even though he k knows the truth that he is there since there are witnesses out there that testified he is tamei. Then they won’t accept his testimony that he is tahor. So too, in our cases even if you know this guy is a thief since you can’t do anything in a Jewish court beside making the thief take an oath therefore your words are useless for the employer to take any actions against the would-be thief.

2. Shevuos 30b: If a witness knows that the other witness testifying with him is a thief and is invalid to testify with him, even though if they would testify together the court would accept their testimony because they don’t know that one of the witnesses is a thief, he still can’t testify with him because he knows his friend is invalid to testify and the court would be extracting money based on their testimony unlawfully according to his knowledge since in reality there is only one witness. Certainly, in our case you can’t tell the employer, acting as one witness, if he will take matters into his own hands. Even if what you say is true. Since it would be unlawful to fire the employee based on one witness.

3. Bava Kamma 113b: Rava put a Jew in excommunication for testifying against another Jew as a single witness in a non-Jewish court causing him to pay a non-Jew money. The gemara says if he would have testified with someone else he would not have been excommunicated. It’s clear from this last point that the problem wasn’t that he testified in a non-Jewish court which is only permissible since one of the litigants is not Jewish, and the problem also wasn’t that he testified for a non-Jew to get money from a Jew because then it would make no difference whether he was one witness or with someone else testifying, either way he should have been excommunicated. Rather it must be that he was excommunicated for testifying as a single witness, that if he would have been in a Jewish court, they would not have accepted his testimony therefore he halachachically caused his flow Jew to lose money unlawfully, even if the Jew really did owe the non-Jew the money. So to in our cases, whether it’s a hired maid, a business partner, a shidduch, etc. If you are a single witness and the person you tell will act rashly and not just be concerned do research and be cautious then you can’t tell him lest he takes actions into his own hands and does something uncalled for according to halacha since it would bot have been handled in that way in a Jewish court.

Sefer Chofetz Chaim hilchos rechilus chapter 9 halacha 5

Until now we discussed speaking out to avoid a potentially bad situation from happening. Meaning, if a person was not hired yet, or there was not yet an engagement, certainly now wedding. But what if the suspicious guy started working, became partners, or even a contract was just signed as an official agreement to start or the like then can you still speak out or is it too late? Before there is any agreement or they started it’s not considered causing a loss to potential worker, nothing happened yet but now that there is a contract signed or he started working, whichever the case might be it’s very hard to just break the contract or fire him because that would look very bad for him and change a lot in his life. And the 5th condition to be able to speak is that you can’t do worse to the person than what he deserves in court. Therefore, if you know you can tell the guy’s boss and he will not trust you immediately or is not rash to make decisions and would fire the guy on the spot, but rather he would just keep a close eye on him to ensure nothing goes wrong then you can tell him and it’s even the correct thing to do. But if he will immediately take action then you can’t say a word because what you say would not hold up in court since you are only one witness. If you are two witnesses who actually saw him steal, for example, and all 5 conditions are met, then you can tell the employer and he can fire the guy if he likes because that is what would have happened in court as well. But if you both heard it second hand or even one saw him steal and the other knew it second hand then the testimony would not hold up in court so you can’t tell the employer if he will take action and not just keep a close eye on his employee.

Sefer Chofetz Chaim hilchos rechilus chapter 9 halacha 3,4

 If you hear someone say I am going to beat so and so up, or curse him out or embarrass him, then you have to ascertain whether he’s being serious or just making baseless threats. If he has a track record of following through with his threats, then you should inform the would-be victim to take proper precautions to protect himself. Or even if you see that this time, he means business then you can tell. But this is only if you have tried to rebuke the angry person beforehand or appease him so that he will calm down and decide not to hurt the person he is angry with. If it works, then you have fulfilled the mitzvah of rebuke bringing peace among people. However, if the rebuke does not work or you see it will not work then you’ll have to tell the would-be victim.

 However, if you see that by telling the would-be victim won’t just take precautions, but he will go and attack his would be threat then you can’t tell him because you are just ensuing a fight not resolving it.

The reason why you should try to rebuke first in this case is because the person is just angry and he just needs to calm down, of course if you think he’ll calm down but hurt the other guy anyways then you have to warn the other guy but that’s only if the angry person is known to follow through with threats even after he calms down. The reason why we said earlier by hiring the person who is a thief or the like that there is no reason to rebuke, is because for a long-term relationship as a job hiring, we can’t trust that even if he says he changed if it would stay that way. But in this case rebuke or appeasing is warranted to calm down the anger so that he won’t go through with the threat he is saying he will do, it’s clear and present danger which can be avoided by talking to him if it works.

Even if you hear secondhand knowledge of a physical, monetary, or psychological threat one should tell the possible victim, of course with the non-confidence that we had spoken about earlier, just to ensure that he will protect himself.

 Unlike by Gedalia ben Achikam who did not take Yochanan ben Kerech seriously that Yishmael ben Natanya would kill him. That was a problem on a couple of fronts. First off in regard to a life-threatening issue one should take any threat seriously even if it is a farfetched concern. Secondly, Yochanan ben Kerech recognized that Yishmael was being serious, and if there is recognizable evidence you can’t have the excuse that he might be exaggerating, therefore Gedalia should have heeded to the warning and that is why he died and there is now a fast called Tzom Gedalia.