Lesson 77c Definition of Rechilus

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Lesson #77c

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Definition of


  1. What is rechilus?
  1. Rechilus literally means bearing tales from one to
    another.  The essence of the prohibition is bringing hatred onto another
    Jew.  For example, if I go and tell Dovid that Aharon said something
    derogatory about him, I am causing Dovid to feel hatred towards Aharon and
    therefore I’m in violation of the prohibition of rechilus.


  1. Is it considered rechilus if my words are not derogatory? 
    For example, if I tell Dovid that Aharon is thinking about opening a
    business that would compete with his business, this might cause Dovid to
    feel resentment towards Aharon but I haven’t said anything derogatory
    about Aharon.  Is that permissible?
  1. No.  That would still be considered rechilus.  Rechilus is
    defined as any form of communication that will bring hatred onto another
    Jew.  Since you are causing Dovid to feel hatred towards Aharon, you are
    in violation of rechilus even though you haven’t said anything negative
    about Aharon.


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:  The next parsha which deals with loshon horah
is Parshas Vayaishev.

Menaseh:  You are referring to Yosef telling Yaakov
loshon horah about his brothers.

Oded:  Yes.  As a result of that loshon horah Klal
Yisroel ended up in Mitzrayim.  A number of other awful things resulted as well. 
The Torah discusses this at great length to teach us the terrible affects of
loshon horah.  In Pirkei Avos Hillel is quoted as saying if I am not for myself
who is for me?  Do you know what he meant by that?

Menaseh:  I believe the simple understanding of that
is if a person doesn’t use all his strength and ability to do what he can while
still in this world, there is nobody that can help him afterwards.

Oded:  That’s correct!  His children can do
relatively little for him after he passes away.  Therefore, he must do good for
himself while still alive.  I have though another insight into this passage.

Menaseh:  What is it?

Oded:  I believe it is also alluding to the fact that
if a person doesn’t cause himself harm nobody else can.

Menaseh:  Can you explain what you mean by that?

Oded:  Sure!  All that happens to a person, good or
bad, is a result of his own actions.  Take for example Avraham.  When Hashem
told him that he would merit the land of Israel, Avraham asked “How will I
know?”  Hashem responded: “You will certainly know because your children will
be strangers in a land that doesn’t belong to them, etc.”  Yaakov was supposed
to be dragged down to Mitzrayim in chains but because of his merits he was
taken down in an honorable fashion.  He came to see his son who was king of
Mitzrayim.  The fact that Yosef ruled over his brothers was also caused by
Yaakov.  When Rachel said to Yaakov: ‘Give me children and if you don’t it’s as
if I’m dead”.  Yaakov responded by saying: “Am I in place of Hashem who is
holding back from you children?”  Hashem scolded Yaakov and said: “Is that the
way you answer those who are oppressed?  By your life, your children will stand
before her son.”  So we see how important it is to guard our speech.  With our
words we set the direction of our lives.  Will we be treated with kindness or
heaven forbid the opposite.

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

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


Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 2 Chap.11

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