The definition of rechilus is if I come to you and tell you this is what Reuven said about you, this is what Reuven did to you. Explains the Chafetz Chaim, the issur of rechilus applies whether the person I’m now speaking to is someone who’s distant or even a close relative. Or if the person I said did it was someone who is distant or even a close relative.
And explains the Chafetz Chaim, this often leads to a common situation. Let’s imagine that I hear somebody speak negatively about a close person to me, whether it be a father, a mother, brother, sister. And I come to that person, to my father, to my mother, and I tell them this is what Reuven said about you. This is what Reuven did to you. Even though I’m saying it purely out of concern, out of love, even though I’m only saying it because I am deeply bothered by the respect that I want my father, my mother, my brother, my sister to be held in the world’s eye, since there’s no toeles, since there’s no obvious good, it’s absolutely rechilus and it’s absolutely forbidden.
If there is a particular toeles, if there is a particular good, meaning to say we can undo the bad done, or my father, my mother, et cetera can protect themselves in the future from this, then under certain circumstances it would be permitted. But unless there is a clear, obvious toeles, a clear, obvious good that will come of it, it’s 100 percent forbidden and it’s rechilus.
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