If you tell me a negative story about Reuven, you have spoken lashon hara. If I accept that to be true I violated a distinct lo sa’aseh, “לא תשא שמע שוא”, not to accept lashon hara to be true.
Explains the Chafetz Chaim that often there is a third element that comes into play. Let’s say you tell me a story, last night Reuven came over to you and he started embarrassing you and he said evil, nasty things to you. And at a certain point I say to you, “You know something, that sounds just like him. You know, that guy Reuven he really is a creep, he really is a bum.” Explains the Chafetz Chaim, you spoke lashon hara. When I’ve now added to it obviously I’ve accepted what you said as true, I was mekabel. In addition to which, I added to it. I said, you’re right, I hear what you’re saying about Reuven, he really is x, y, and z. What I now have done is I’ve now added to the lashon hara because I’ve now spoken lashon hara about Reuven aside from what you did.
So when you come over and speak lashon hara you’re putting me in grave danger. Number one, when you speak it obviously you’re over the lo sa’aseh of speaking, number two, you’re jeopardizing my situation because I might accept it and number three, I might add to the fray, I may add you know, you’re right, that’s the kind of guy Reuven is, I hear he’s a bum and a creep et cetera, and you might actually cause me to speak lashon hara as well.
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