The Laws #91

Rechilus L’toeles: Likely A Good Outcome

If I know that you’re going to enter into a business dealing or shidduch with Reuven and I know that Reuven is a thief, I’m allowed to tell you provided that I meet the five requirements. Number 1, I have to know it to be factually true. Number 2, I can’t exaggerate. Number 3, I have to have kavanah l’toeles, I have to intend for the good and it has to bring about a good result.

Explains the Chafetz Chaim this third criteria often is a problem. Let’s assume that I know that you’re intending to hire somebody. And I also know that that someone is a thief.  But you’re the type of person who’s very headstrong and doesn’t listen to other people. And I know that most likely even after I tell you, what’s going to happen is you’re going to hire him anyway. Explains the Chafetz Chaim, I would be forbidden to tell you in that situation. Why?

Since you’re not going to listen anyway, there is no toeles. The only reason I’m allowed to tell you, the only reason I’m allowed to speak badly about another Jew, is because לא תעמד על דם רעך, I have to take care of your needs.  So if you will listen, or most likely listen, I’m allowed to tell you. But if you’re the type of person who’s not going to listen, whether it’s because you’re very headstrong, whatever the reason, then it’s forbidden for me to tell you. Why? Because all I’m going to be doing is speaking rechilus. And later on when there’s a fight, you’re going to come back and tell that person, you see, So-and-So anyway said I shouldn’t have. It’s not going to lead to toeles, and therefore it’s forbidden

And this situation often happens in a shidduch as well. If you know that So-and-So is engaged to So-and-So and you know something negative about that person, if they’ll listen to you, then under certain circumstances you’re allowed to tell. But if you know anyway they’re passionately gone and they’re not going to listen, then all you’re doing is speaking rechilus.

The third criteria is you have to be מתכוון לתועלת, you have to have intention of good and you have to know that most likely a good result will come about. Otherwise, you’re not allowed to speak. Only when you have all five criteria are you allowed to tell the person the information you know.

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