It is forbidden for me to tell you that Reuven spoke badly about you or intended to do something to you because that is rechilus, that violates לא תלך רכיל בעמך. That’s true even if this Reuven that I’m speaking about is present.
So let’s imagine that the three of us are present. And I say to Reuven, Reuven, isn’t it true that you said about my friend over here such and such and such? If that’s a negative thing, if it’s something that will cause you to feel badly, that’s in the category of rechilus, even though the person who said it is present.
Explains the Chafetz Chaim, it makes it even worse because now potentially there’s going to be more machlokes, more arguments, there’ll be ha’azah, there’ll be chutzpah, et cetera involved. And therefore, even if the person I’m speaking about is present right here it’s still within the category of לא תלך רכיל בעמך.
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