Today we continued in the Sefer Chofetz Chaim. We discussed a very challenging problem. How does word presumed to be spread if it is forbidden to be said? The Chofetz Chaim compared it to a group of thieves that are traveling together. You wouldn’t say that the first person to steal something is innocent because the rest of the group would have stolen it any way! So to the fact that one person of a group of at least 3 happened to have leaked loshon hara amidst a conversation about something else should mean he does not get a sin, as the Rambam says, because bottom line he spoke badly about someone else who care if word spreads. And how then can word spread if no one is allowed to start spreading it?
The Chofetz Chaim explained 3 views of how to resolve this issue:
1. Rashi in Erechin who said that the case of Rabba bar Rav Huna and word spreading is where the original speaker is talking about himself so he is automatically giving permission to spread what he said about himself, good or bad, if he is willing to say it in a group of at least 3 people.
2. The Rashbam in Bava Basra only permits those in the group to go back to the one who was talked about but not say it to any one else. If the speaker was willing to say what he said in a group of at least 3 he must not care if word gets back to the one being talked about. Granted it might start quarrels, but the Chofetz Chaim seems to be saying that is not the repeater’s responsibility, the original speaker is instigating.
3. The Rambam in halacha 5 of Hilchos Deos, chapter 7 says one does not get a sin if he happened to slip into a conversation this pice of lashon hara that he heard in a group of 3, without intent of spreading the news because he is not acting as a peddler, which is what the Torah describes one who speaks lashon hara as. A peddler is one who takes his goods from one place to another sharing or selling them to others but in this case since word will spread or already has spread in an illegal or legal manner, then the person who slips it into his conversation is not acting as a peddler since he is not giving out information which people don’t already have or won’t have easy access to and there is no intent to act as a peddler in this case of spreading the news, therefore he does not get a sin.