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.”