I am permitted to speak lashon hara even if I wasn’t asked about an incident if I believe that telling this over will, again, either right the wrong that was done or if I’m intending to let people know not to do evil things. However, there are seven requirements that I have to meet.
The first requirement is, explains the Chafetz Chaim, that I have to know for a fact that which happened. So let’s imagine I saw Reuven steal money from Shimon. I can’t tell it over unless I actually saw it myself and actually really know that that’s what happened. I can’t accept it from somebody else. I can’t hear a story from someone else. It has to be something that I myself saw with my own eyes and therefore know to actually have happened.
Requirement number two is that I have to really know that it was stealing, that it was gezel. There are many times when things happen but I don’t know the background. It could be that Shimon took money from Reuven yesterday. It could be he owed the money. It could be any number of things. I have to make sure that in fact that which I’m beginning to tell people about really is within the category of what I think it is.
So again, if I saw Reuven steal money from Shimon, I’m allowed to tell it over if number one, I saw it with my own eyes, number two, I really know for a fact that that’s what happened, that it was without warrant, without justification, if in fact I’m intending to either get the money back from Reuven, or I’m letting people know that you can’t get away with wicked things, I’m allowed to do it. These are the first two requirements I have to meet. And there are five more that we’re going to discuss in the coming sessions.
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