Sefer Chofetz Chaim chapter 8 halachos 2-4

Who can you not speak lashon hara about:

Halacha 2: You can’t speak lashon hara about men or women even your wife because it says, “Don’t be a tale bearer amongst your nation” your wife and all other wives are still part of “your nation”. There is another proof that you cannot say lashon hara about your wife unless there is a productive reason because there is a prohibition of motzi shem ra, if the newly wed husband claims his wife isn’t a virgin so only deserves 100 and not 200 for the kesuba then if he is right that ok but if he is wrong because he can’t prove it then the Torah finds him for saying lashon hara about his wife. The Chofetz Chaim goes on to say that it was unfortunately prevalent in his day that many people spoke lashon hara about their wives or in laws in front of their brothers and father’s house which he said is absolutely forbidden unless there is some constructive purpose.

Halacha 3: sometimes it is forbidden to talk lashon hara about children. For example if the are orphans and speaking out against them might cause physical or emotional harm, for example there foster parents will kick them out of the house or orphans have more sensitive feelings but if they need to be taught a lesson then you can tell on them so that they will be reprimanded but only if you know they won’t be too severely punished. The Chofetz Chaim does say that even though the example he gives is of an orphan child that is the most prevalent of issues with lashon hara about children but if any physical, monetary, or emotional harm would happen to any child then lashon hara shouldn’t be spoken. What he means is that, for example, if a child was caught coloring on the wall most people will just laugh it off, he’s a child, he doesn’t know better he just has to be taught not to do it, he’ll grow up one day. That is why many times there is not an issue of lashon hara with children. If an adult would do such a thing that would be a crime called graffiti. Of course as was said if harm is done by saying the lashon hara of course it should not be said and now a days we have to be cognizant of the fact that emotional stability is very fragile. My Rosh Yeshiva zt”l, Rav Henoch Leibowitz use to say that back in the early 1900s Americans were like cobwebs now a days we are like tissue paper. Halacha 4: If a person is an on ha’aretz, a simpleton, not learned, he is still Jewish and one cannot speak lashon hara about him but certainly if he is a rabbi or sage it is even worse because one must show more respect to the sage, respect to the learned is respect to the Torah but even worse if lashon hara was spoken about the rabbi then people who ask him questions or go to his shiurim might stop and that will cause them to make up their own observance of Torah and ultimately a new religion because they feel they can’t trust there Rabbi who is learned.

Sefer Chofetz Chaim Chapter 4, halacha 5, note 25-28 and halacha 6

Note 25: Though the Chofetz Chaim said that when the court reprimands a person that committed a severe sin once they should do it in private and in a fashion that won’t embarrass the guy however he elaborated here that if the guy won’t easily listen or if the sin was public and everyone knows about it and might do the same then the Jewish court has a right to take things into their own hands and use him as an example to dissuade others from committing the same thing or give him lashes to be sure he will stop doing the sin himself.

Note 26: Though the court can’t accept one witness’s testimony for it is considered lashon hara if not said with another witness and they don’t have to rebuke the would be sinner, however if they somehow verified that the he did actually sin then they certainly should rebuke him.

Note 27, 28: In the end of the halacha we said that the person who saw someone do a severe sin can tell the sinner’s rabbi or rebbe as long as he believes him like two witnesses and the rabbi is a secretive and modest person who wouldn’t tell anyone else about it. Then the Rabbi can “hate” the sinner for what he did even if you don’t think he will do it again, until he has proven that he has repented then we assume that this type of rabbi when finding out that his student or congregant has repented or he helps him repent will love the repented sinner again and treat like everyone else as he was before the sin. He certainly won’t tell anyone else, which no one should believe him anyways even if he is a trusted rabbi since I’m this is all second hand coming from him and he only trust the guy who saw the sin first hand “like” two witnesses just to be extra cautious and to try to help the sinner mend his ways.

In halacha 6 the Chofetz Chaim says that even if the rabbi is a big talker but if you know if you don’t say anything to him and he is the only person the sinner will listen to them you are allowed to tell the rabbi in order so that the sinner will stop doing the sin if you have indications that he is ready and willing to do the sin again. This is permissible because you are doing this for the sake of Heaven to stop sin in the world. You certainly can’t tell anyone else because you have not actually seen him sin again even if you saw the sin with someone else, to be two witnesses and you know he would do it again, but as long as you have not seen him do it again or really for multiple times he is still included in the verse of “your nation” which one cannot speak lashon hara to anyone about.

Chapter 1 Halachos 5, 6

Halacha 5: Not only is one not allowed to speak lashon hara voluntarily but even if someone is trying to coerce another to speak slanderously about someone else, it doesn’t matter if it is your parents, rabbi, or even the king you cannot tell them any lashon hara about someone else unless it is for a constructive purpose and all the parameters mentioned later on are met. Lashon hara is like any other mitzva, Torah or rabbinic which one cannot listen to parents or even a rabbi if they say to transgress and must even stop them from transgressing if one sees any of them doing a sin.

 Halacha 6: If it means one has to lose money, whether losing a chance of a promotion or even a demotion or even losing one’s job, and even if it means the means of one’s livelihood and supporting a family is in danger one still must not speak lashon hara and be ready to look like a fool in the eyes of one’s boss and fellow employees. Lashon hara is like any other mitzva that one must be ready to sacrifice all his money and not transgress, whether on a Torah level or rabbinic.