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The Laws #53

Telling Lashon Hara From Pain - L’toeles

The Chafetz Chaim explains that there might be times when it is permitted for me to tell over a negative story about Reuven to my spouse. Let’s in fact assume that Reuven did something to me that really is very hurtful and it really bothers me. And within my heart is a lot of pain and assuming that my telling it over to my spouse will either calm me down and I won’t either take revenge or be angry or will just appease me, explains the Chafetz Chaim, it might well be that that’s permitted.

Why? Because I’m not telling over this story to malign or to speak badly about Reuven, I’m telling this story over because there’s pain in my heart and I just have to vent and I need to speak it out. If in fact speaking it out will calm me down, if in fact speaking it out will allow me to have some element of solace, explains the Chafetz Chaim, it might well be permitted to tell over. And therefore there are occasions when it is permitted to tell it over to a spouse, but one has to be very, very careful and guarded with this leniency. Because, a, it tends to expand to things that don’t really trouble me and don’t really bother me. And, again, b, there has to be a very real accomplishment, a very real toeles.

So, if in fact, I really am troubled, really bothered, and I know that telling it over to my spouse will calm me down in that sense, it might well be permitted, it might be the type of thing I could tell over to a spouse. But, if in fact there isn’t a direct toeles, if there isn’t a direct benefit, then it would remain in the category of lashon hara and would be 100 percent forbidden.

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