Lesson 111

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Lesson #111

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More on overcharged



Q.  I
know that if I tell my friend that he got “taken for a ride” he will take
action on his own against the store owner.  May I tell him?

A.  If the following 3 conditions are met in
addition to the conditions mentioned previously, there is no sin of rechilus:

You know the information
first hand.

There is another witness
to corroborate your claim.

Your friend will not cause
more damage than Bais Din would.

            The previously
mentioned conditions are:

    1. Do not exaggerate the matter.
    2. Your intention must be for the benefit of the one who was
      harmed.  You may not rejoice in the degradation of the transgressor, even
      if you yourself know that he truly overcharged the victim.  Additionally,
      you must know that the victim will likely take the necessary steps to
      recoup his loss.  However, if he is not of the nature to make a fuss and
      it will only roil him to know that he was overcharged, then you may not
      tell him.
    3. If you estimate that the transgressor will heed your
      rebuke and as a result return the overpayment to the victim, then you
      must privately rebuke the transgressor and not tell the victim.
    4. If you can bring about the benefit some other way then
      you may not tell the rechilus.
    5. The victim must not be the type of person who will go and
      tell the one who overcharged him: “so and so told me that you overcharged
      me”.  If he is that type of person, the Chofetz Chaim has a doubt as to
      whether you may tell him, since by doing so you are causing him to sin.
      However, if you warn him not to quote you and you are fairly confident
      that he will heed your warning, you may tell him.


If these
conditions are met, you are not committing the sin of rechilus.  However, you
are still causing your friend to sin, since he is not allowed to take
unilateral action without first consulting with Bais Din.  Therefore, if you
know that your friend will take action without going to Bais Din, then you
should not inform him.



Q.  The
other day, a fellow was showing his friend a suit that he recently purchased
from a Jewish owned clothing store.  His friend inquired as to how much the
suit cost.  The proud owner told him the price.  His friend then proceeded to
tell him that it was a bad deal.  Is that okay?

A.  Probably not.  First of all, one must know
the true market value of the item.  Often, it can vary from brand to brand and
change over the course of time.  Secondly, even if he overpaid, you must be
certain that he has a halachically valid recourse; otherwise, telling him will
only cause hard feelings.  If you encourage him to try and recoup his money
from the store owner when in reality he has no halachic claim to it, you are in
violation of rechilus as well as causing unnecessary strife.  You are also
causing your friend to sin.  Therefore, one must carefully weigh the above
mentioned factors before making such a statement.



This section is
formatted as a conversation between Oded and Menaseh.   Oded is encouraging his
friend Menaseh to be more careful in guarding his tongue from evil speech.  The
thoughts in this section are primarily based on the sefer, Shmiras Haloshon.

Oded:  I was relating a story that illstrates how a
son can save a father from judgment in Gehinom.

Menaseh:  Please continue.

Oded:  Here is what we’ve related so far:

Rav Zemira’ah was walking in a
field when he noticed flames emerging out of cracks in the Mountains of
Ararat.  He bent his ear to hear and heard voices.  An Arab, who noticed him
listening, said to him: “Come with me and I will show you wonders hidden from
man”.  He took him behind a rock where he saw other cracks from which flames
were emerging.  The Arab said to him: “Bend your ear here and listen”.  He bent
his ear and heard voices saying “vay vay…”.  Rav Zemira’ah exclaimed: “This is
certainly one of the locations of Gehinom”.  The Arab continued on his way and
Rav Zemira’ah was left on his own.  He moved on to another location and peering
through a crack and saw a person who was screaming loudly, being hauled in
deeper, down to another level of Gehinom.  After that Rav Zemira’ah was no
longer able to see as they vanished from sight.  Rav Zemira’ah dozed off and
saw in his dream that very same person whom he had seen being dragged deeper
into Gehinom.  He asked him: “Who are you?”  The man replied: “I’m a Jew who is
guilty of transgressing every sin imaginable”.  “What is your name?”  asked Rav
Zemira’ah in his dream.  “I don’t know” responded the man.  “Those who serve
time in Gehinom forget their names.”  Rav Zemira’ah asked him: “what is the
name of your city?”  The man responded: “I’m from the upper Galilee, I was a
butcher and because of the many terrible things that I did I’m judged 3 times
during the day and 3 times at night”.  Rav Zemira’ah set out for the upper Galilee.  Upon arriving he set out in search of the former location of this individual.  He
inquired from a child.  The child responded: “Rebbi, such and such should
happen to that man.  He did all the worst sins you could possibly imagine.
Such and such should happen to him and his son”.  Rav Zemira’ah asked: “He has
a son?”  “Yes”, said the child, “he left behind one son who is a rosha like his
father.  He is the child who hangs out by the butcher shop”.

And now the continuation:

Rav Zemira’ah went searching for him.  He found him and
started to teach him Chumash, davening and Krias Shema.  After that he taught
him Mishna, Gemora, Halacha and Aggadah until the young lad became a great
Torah scholar.  He became known as Rebbi Nachum Hapakuli.

Menaseh:  What does Hapokuli mean?

Oded:  It means the one who removed?

Menaseh:  Why was he called that?

Oded:  Because he removed his father from judgment in

Menaseh:  How do we know that?

Oded:  Well, the father of this lad came to Rav
Zemira’ah in a dream and told him: “Rebbi just as you have consoled me Hashem
should console you.  From the moment my son learned one posuk of Chumash they
lightened my punishment.  From when he started reciting Krias Shema they removed
one of my judgments in the day and one at night.  When he started learning in
Yeshiva they removed all my punishments.  When he became a Torah scholar they
placed me amongst the righteous in Gan Eden.  Every day that a novel Torah
concept is recited in his name I’m crowned with a heavenly crown that is
reserved for the righteous.  All this honor has been bestowed upon me because
of you.  One who leaves a son in the world who is learning Torah merits a great

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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim
Sec. 2 Chap. 9 Par. 13

2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 2 Chap. 9 Par. 13


Shmiras Haloshon Sha’ar HaTorah Chap. 7


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