When it comes to lashon hara, the Chafetz Chaim explains that there are two separate issues involved in any speaking of lashon hara. Number 1, I’ve sinned against Hashem because Hashem said not to do it. Number 2, I’ve sinned against my friend because I’ve damaged that person’s reputation and et cetera.
And explains the Chafetz Chaim, when it comes to teshuvah, I have to repent on both parts. I have to obviously ask Hashem for forgiveness. But I also have to go over to my friend and ask him for forgiveness for what it is that I’ve done wrong.
When it comes to rechilus, it’s a very similar concept. If I told you that Reuven spoke badly about you, obviously what’s going to happen is you’re going to be angry at Reuven. If I want to teshuvah, I have to go over to that Reuven and ask him to forgive me. Why? Because I’ve now caused him harm. You are now angry at him. You now maybe even have complaints or hate him. So I’ve damaged him.
So, explains the Chafetz Chaim, if I want to do teshuvah for speaking rechilus, obviously I have to ask Hashem for forgiveness. But in addition to that I have to ask forgiveness from the one who I’ve damaged, the one who I told about and the one who I’ve caused someone else to be angry with or hate. I have to go over to that person and ask him to forgive me for what I’ve done.
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