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 7 halachos 1,2

Halacha 1: There is no difference whether rechilus was spoken by a man or a woman, relative or non-relative as we see by the episode of Miriam speaking out again her brother, Moshe, and we know there is no difference between lashin hara and rechilus. Even if you hear someone say something bad about your parents and you are so upset that you tell your parents what so and so said about them, that is still rechilus. Even if someone said something bad about one’s rebbe or rav, he can’t go and tell the rabbi what heard. However in Kiddushin 70a, we see that speaking badly about a court or the messenger of the court, the messenger is believed like two witnesses, about what was said about him or the court and the court can accept this report back as testimony and excommunicate the guy he was sent to deliver the court’s message to. (See Choshen Mishpat 8:5 with the Be’er Hagola there.)

It also makes no difference whether the subject spoken about was a man or a woman, an adult or a child, it’s the same as lashon hara and forbidden. Achild is also considered “your nation” even though he isn’t liable in mitzvos yet. Especially since the whole point of the spirit of the law is to prevent fighting and damages, of course rechilus will be forbidden even against a child. Let say an adult saw two children get into a fight with punches thrown and he goes over to one of the fathers and tells what happened. That father might go over to the kid and smack him, then the argument might escalate and the two fathers might start fighting with each other. Certainly if you don’t know who is really at fault or started the fight. But even if you do know who did what and whose faukt it is, still you can’t escalate the issue by telling on the child unless the prerequisites in chapter 9 that we’ll be reading will all be met.

Halacha 2: It doesn’t make a difference whether the subject talked about is an am ha’aretz, a simpleton who  might not understand the severity of mitzvos, or know all the halachos, but if you see him speak nastily about someone else you can’t tell the other guy what he said because he is still considered part of your nation. Only someone who purposefully sins knowing the alacha and the severity of the sin, but transgressing just to spite is out of the realm of “your nation,” and loshon haa or rechilus could be said about him.

All the more so speaking rechilus about a rabbi or sage is much more wors for a number of reason.

  1. The sin of rechilus itself, if speaking rechilus about a friend where you might lie, is really bad, then all the more so to tell someone what you heard a rabbi say about you or did to you, most probably has lying with in the report because we can assume most often than not that the rabbi or sage know halacha, is G-D fearing and must have had a calculation of why he said what he said or did what he did, so you can repeat it to the subject, because you ight not understand the whole story and most like saying something false.
  2. The person himself you are talking about, the Torah commands us to cling to our sages, it’s a mitzvah to eat and drink with them, do business with them, marry our children off to there children, so especially if you speak out against them you are turning yourself away from them as well as others.
  3. The ramifications of the story, telling over what so and so said about you or did to you, sometimes might not be a big deal, because who caees, he is a no body. But if you say this is what this Rabbi said about you then it hurts more and they will believe it and thbe quicker to hate the rabbi, how could such a respectful person say that about me…, so that another reason why it’s worse to speak recilus about rabbis.

CITE Sefer Chofetz Chaim hilchos rechilus chapter 6 end of note 20 in halacha 9 and halacha 10

Note 20: a classic example of when one might have circumstantial evidence, but you can’t take matters into your own hand is in a case where Shimon found out he had money stolen. He and his family went away and left Reuvain to sleep the night. The next morning Shimon came back to his house and found his drawer open and a whole wad of money missing. He might even see a wad of cash sticking out of Reuvain’s bag and even confront Reuvain and he said he did not here any burglars break in last night. However, Shimon can’t just grab the money away. He can only take Reuvain to court to force him to swear a rabbinic oath that he didn’t steal Shimon’s money. This is the apparent view of the Shach and Taz in Choshen Mishpat 75, Shach (4) sand Taz (17), though the Sm’a (49) argues. Whether you can verbally degrade the suspect because you have circumstantial evidence that the rechilus is true the Chofetz Chaim is unsure about and leaves it tzarich iyun gadol.

Halacha 10: There is a very serious problem that we find even now a days where one business (or political campaign) might have been hurt because of a smear campaign by another business (or his political opponent), both owned by Jews (or are Jewish), and there is circumstantial evidence that points to the Jewish owner of the competitor personally involve in the smear campaign, the first owner who lost a lot of business and money might think, if he can smear me I can smear him back. But that is absolutely wrong for a number of reasons.

  1. One is only allowed to smear his competitor or opponent if by doing so it will be of positive use in the future, for example to stop any further damage, and there is no other way to save oneself. But one may not do it out if revenge. (See Choshen Mishpat 388:9 in the Rem”a.)

One is only allowed to smear his competitor or opponent in order to stop him from doing further damage only if you heard it from his own mouth, but if you just have circumstantial evidence even if it seems pretty obvious like a commercial put out smearing his competitor or opponent, as long as you don’t know for sure, like if it was clarified in court, or even outside of court you found out that it was definitely him that put out the commercial, for example, and not supporters of him, or people that work under him without his knowledge or approbation, then you cannot go after him. You would have to go after the perpetrators themselves to stop things from escalating. Certainly if you only heard secondhand knowledge that your competitor or opponent is smearing you then you can’t use against him, and all the more so to cause him a loss, even on a miniscule level and even if you think his loss will minimize your loss in the future, it is still forbidden.

CITE Sefer Chofetz Chaim hilchos rechilus chapter 6 note 5 and footnote of halacha 3, and halacha 4

In the footnote the Chofetz Chaim depicts the severity of the travesty of accepting rechilus with two examples. He felt this was an issue rampant in his day and the problem of accepting rechilus is worse than speaking it since it forwards a situation to continue to down spiral and get worse.

The first example was the case of the non-Jewish landlord who kicked out his Jewish tenant and he blamed a Jew for tattling on the Jewish tenant so if the Jewish tenant believes the non-Jewish landlord that a Jew tattled on him and he now hates this Jew and at some other point he tattles on that Jew and gets him into trouble and now he definitely transgressed rechilus and who knows if the other Jew said anything maybe the non-Jewish landlord made the whole thing up. That’s the danger of accepting rechilus!

The second case is where a non-Jew buys wine from a Jew pays for it and leaves his battles by the Jew’s store for the Jew to fill them up. In the meantime, he shops around for a cheaper price and finds another Jew who is willing to sell him wine for a cheaper price and was not told anything about the first sale. The Non-Jew goes back to the first Jewish and ask for his money and barrels back because he got a better deal someplace else. The Jewish salesman asks whose gave him a better deal and the non-Jew not wanting to get in trouble “innocently ” says your Jewish counterpart down the road told me you have high prices and don’t buy from you; he’ll treat me better at a lower price. The first merchant believes this and is furious at the other Jew. They are at each other’s throats and try to ruin both each other’s businesses all because the first Jew believed what the non-Jew said whereas in actuality the non-Jew found the other Jew and the other Jew didn’t even know about the sale of the first Jew. But even if the rechilus is true there is still no reason to believe or act upon it unless to look more into the matter and protect yourself, but if you ignore what happened and is polite to the other Jew, he might see it’s better to be nice and not to act maliciously and he might even change his evil ways. You can set an example for others and avoid a lot of fights by not accepting rechilus.

Note 5 in halacha 3 and halacha 4 with note 7 says that even if there are rumors that someone for example is the thief that stole from you, you can’t rely on the rumors and must investigate unless witnesses testify and the court finds him guilty or if he is known to be a thief, not just rumors than you can assume he stole it.

Sefer Chofetz Chaim hilchos rechilus chapter 6 halachis 1-3

Halacha 1: One may not accept rechilus as fact even if it was said in front of 3 people or more. That doesn’t give any validity just be cautious and investigate if it’s a matter of a potential threat, for example if some one told you in a crowd that someone else wants to hurt you or said bad things about you then you can ask others if this is true or not and investigate. But if there is no threat then one is forbidden to clarify whether it actually happened or was said because you will definitely be placing a stumbling block in front if the blind, since people will feel they have to answer you if you ask and they will be speaking rechilus if there is no potential threat.

Halacha 2: Even the rechilus is said in the face of the perpetrator, for example Reuvain is looking at Levi and tells Shimon, “You are the one who said such and such disgrace about Shimon,” now even if Levi was quiet a d didn’t defend himself when the rechilus about him was said right in front of him, still Shimon cannot believe it as fact. Even if the nature of Levi is usually to always speak up and defend himself and this time he didn’t so it looks like he is admitting he said it, still there is no proof that that’s a actually true. This is true even if the Reuvain was allowed to tell Shimon because of a possible threat that Shimon should watch out for, still he can’t believe it just be cautious and take proper precautions, and surely if he spoke regular lashon hara or rechilus which there is no potential threat to anyone, Shimon may not believe Reuvain because he surely is wicked for transgressing the prohibition of rechilus so how can Shimon now believe this bad person who is trying to make someone else look bad?

Halacha 3: If one has a damage in business and he is unsure how it happened, for examole he was kicked out of his rental but he is unsure where someone smeared him and got him kicked or the landlord himself decides he didn’t like him and kicked him off the land. He can’t suspect that any Jew was out to get him unless he has circumstantial evidence, which will be discussed in more detail later, but then he can decide the Jew was out to get him, but that does not mean that he has a right to go after that person’s assets. The reason why this is true is because we don’t assume a Jew would do such a wicked thing as the Torah (Vayikra 19:15) states, “You shall judge your nation righteously.” Even if one heard that a certain Jew caused the damage, he still can’t believe and should only be concerned about what he heard and look into the matter, but not decide that what he heard is true. Even if people were out to get this guy who supposedly got the tenant into trouble and they told the tenant that this guy did it and the guy was quiet and didn’t deny that he wasn’t the cause, still the tenant can’t decide that this is in fact true, that he was the perpetrator, because even though there is a mitzvah to save oneself from acquiring a bad name and must save his own self from suspicion as it says (Bamidbar 32:22), “you shall be clean from before Hashem and the Jewish people” nevertheless divine sees any excuse will not be listened and there is no point in speaking up he has a right to stay quiet and be among those who are insulted and don’t insult back, they listen to disgrace and don’t answer about these people it is said in Chullin 89a, “upon whom does the world continue to exist, by those who keep their mouth shut at a time of argument. “

Sefer Chofetz Chaim hilchos rechilus chapter 5 halachos 5-7

There is a terrible habit that people have that they feel the need to know what other people did to them or said about them and if they ask and the person refuses to tell them he badgers the guys until he divulges the information. This is certainly rechilus if there is no purpose to knowing, meaning there is no threat against him and even there is potential threat we learned you can’t believe what you here, only take precautions. There are many prohibitions that could be transgressed and mitzvos not fulfilled if one is not careful in this matter. Also, one has to be very careful not to jump to the conclusion all the time that there might be threat against him and he is allowed to listen and inquire about what someone did or said about him. There is a fine line between being cautious and sensing a hunch of a threat and constantly overreacting and that line must be balanced.

The way to find that balance is to be adherent to the positive mitzvah of “with righteousness you shall judge your nation,” which includes judging your fellow favorably. Now this doesn’t only apply to someone who most probably meant you know harm, but the Chofetz Chaim says that if the Torah went out of the way to make a mitzvah for this it must unexclusive, or rather inclusive of many situations including especially if it would seem the person was trying to be malicious, still there is a mitzvah to judge him or her favorably until it is apparent with clear proof and no other choice that he or she is guilty. But if you just know what you heard was true, ley say you even can confirm it on video, still there is a mitzvah to judge favorably, that maybe something was overlooked which could change the whole story. Even if the story could go 50/50 either according to what you heard who are you to make the judgment that what you heard can go either way, if the All-Knowing Hashem makes a mitzvah to judge favorably why should you decide well

that’s only someone who might deserve to be judged favorably but under the circumstances that in my mind this person doesn’t deserve to be judged favorably, how does one have a right to just make that decision, maybe it wasn’t as bad as it it’s made out to be?! Why pick a fight and blow out if proportion a situation that does not have to be blown out of proportion? Therefore, it must the mitzvah if judging favorably even applies in situations where it can go 50/50 either or even if it looks worse than good. It’s not just a nice thing to judge favorably it’s a Torah obligation until it is unequivocally clear what happened.

Now if one has committed the sin of accepting rechilus the way to repent is to first remove from your heart the belief that what you heard is true. If that is hard to do, then just convince yourself that you are missing a part of the story. Maybe something was taken out or was added or the way it was said came out more negative than it really is, including the way his voice sounded might have changed the story if it was said over in a different tone of voice and he skipped up saying it. You should also accept upon yourself in the future to not ever accept lashon hara or rechilus about any Jew again, and say vidui, meaning admit to your sin. This will fix the sin transgressed as long as you have not spread what you heard to anyone else, which is a different story, not impossible to fix, because teshuva is always possible but not for this discussion right now.