While Lashon Hara causes damage to the subject (in reputation,
finances, emotional anguish or other), Rechilut causes hatred
toward the subject, or between the listener and the subject.
Hilchot Rechilut: Chapter 8
- Definition of avak rechilut
- Praise that is avak rechilut
- Asking for a favor by mentioning a previous recipient
- Repeating a conversation that the subject would not appreciate
- Keeping Secrets
1. DEFINITION OF AVAK RECHILUT
Many things are forbidden because they are "Avak" Rechilut (lit. "dust,"
meaning traces of Rechilut but not explicitly Rechilut). In this chapter
we will briefly clarify some of the issues, and rely upon the listener to
deduce what other situations would similarly be considered Avak Rechilut.
For example, if someone was in a group and one of the people in the group
implied (but didn't state) something negative about another, and that
someone told the subject that something negative was implied about him,
the speaker would be guilty of speaking Avak Rechilut.
[This is surprising - I expected Avak Rechilut to be similar to Avak
Lashon Hara (hinting something negative - see Hilchot L"H chapter 9),
but instead this first example is repeating Avak Lashon Hara!
Perhaps that's because hinting Rechilut is classified as Rechilut itself -
at the beginning of the section we learned that if someone is asked
whether something was said against the questioner, it would be Rechilut to
keep silent and let the questioner infer that something was said against
2. PRAISE THAT IS AVAK RECHILUT
Praising someone in front of the subject's friend about something
that will stir up resentment is Avak Rechilut. Therefore, it might
be forbidden to tell someone's business partner or spouse about how
generous that person was in giving a loan or charity, or how
appropriate he was with paying wages, or anything similar, sine the
partner may not appreciate how the person is using their money.
This could cause ill will between the partners, and possibly even
a dispute could arise if the partner feels that the other is
wasting their funds in their generosity.
3. ASKING FOR A FAVOR BY MENTIONING A PREVIOUS RECIPIENT
If someone asks his friend for a favor, and the friend replies that
he is unable to fulfill the request, the asker should not respond
that another did receive the favor. If confronted with this
information, the friend might resent the original recipient for
telling others because he will now be subjected to requests he
4. REPEATING A CONVERSATION THAT THE SUBJECT WOULD NOT APPRECIATE
If a conversation did not include negative information against
someone, but did include information which the subject does not
like others talking about (e.g. his age, or any other information
which the person might be uncomfortable about if discussed in his
presence), it would be Avak Rechilut to repeat the conversation to
5. KEEPING SECRETS
If someone is told information in confidence, he is obligated to
keep that information to himself. Although the confidant may not
be speaking Rechilut, he could cause his friend harm by repeating
the information. In addition, the untrustworthy confidant is not
exemplifying the positive trait of modesty (i.e. instead of being
discreet, he is calling attention to information, and to himself
for knowing the information), and he violates the will of the
person who told him the secret.
HaLashon, Copyright (c) 1996 by Ellen Solomon and Project Genesis, Inc.