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The Laws #79

To Protect Oneself

There are situations where I’m allowed to seek out words of rechilus. Let’s assume that I have a very good reason to suspect someone of doing something wrong to me. Explains the Chafetz Chaim, if it has a status of really רגליים לדבר, meaning to say, it really is apparent, it really is clear that there’s good reason to suspect. Not just a sort of vague suspicion, but there really is very good reason to think that something happened, then I’m allowed to ask you, did So-and-So say something about me? Did So-and-So do something to me?

However, it has to be very, very clear that there’s a very real basis to suspicion and when I ask you I have to ask you for a positive purpose, namely to find out to protect myself or to right the wrong, et cetera. In those situations I would be allowed to ask you to tell me what happened. But regardless, no matter how clear it is to me, and no matter how much evidence I had before, and no matter how clearly you tell me over that Reuven did something to me, I’m not allowed to be mekabel it, I’m not allowed to accept to be true.

And explains the Chafetz Chaim, what that means is, I can’t even have it in the category of a safek, as a real, real possibility. Meaning to say, if you told me something that Reuven did to me, I’m allowed to suspect, I’m allowed to guard myself in the future, I’m allowed to look into it further. But I’m not allowed to take away any obligations that I have to him already. And I’m certainly not allowed to harm him.  It can’t even be in the category of a very real, possibility. It has to be something I’m allowed to be choshed, I’m allowed to suspect for, I’m allowed to protect myself for. But I can’t act on it in any real sense and I can’t free myself of any obligations that I had to that person before I heard the story.

 

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