As with other forms of loshon hora, halachah does not differentiate
between rechilus that is stated explicitly or merely inferred. A
statement in which names are omitted is still rechilus if the
listener can deduce the identities of the people involved.
Also, it is forbidden to communicate rechilus through body motion,
sign language or any other means. Likewise, it is forbidden to make
available written or recorded material if awareness of its contents
could create ill feelings between individuals.
The following segment is a translation from the Chofetz Chaim's writings on the philosophy of proper speech from the Sefer Shmiras Halashon.
The Folly of DishonestyAbove, we spoke of the great reward for avoiding strife in situations where
one has clearly been wronged. And what of the one who committed the wrong,
who profited at the expense of his neighbor's loss? He acted wickedly and
foolishly, for his sinful tactics will not earn him one cent more than what
has been decreed for him on Rosh Hashanah. By denying his neighbor that which
was rightfully his, he will ultimately be denied that which had been decreed
for himself. In the end, his wrongful gain will cause his rightful earnings
to become lost as well, for, as the Sages teach, the punishment for forcing
one's personal burden upon another Jew is the loss of one's possessions (Succah 29b).
The Sages further teach: "If you take that which is not your own, your own
will be taken from you" (Derech Eretz Zuta ch. 3). To be dishonest in financial
matters is to exchange the channel of sustenance that Heaven provides for one
that is sinful. Hashem declares: "It is not enough that the wicked rob, but
they even inconvenience Me to return the money to its rightful owner" (Sanhedrin 8a).1
The above is illustrated in the episode of Yaakov and Lavan. Before fleeing
Lavan's house, Yaakov was shown in a prophetic dream that the birth of
unusually colored sheep in his flock was Divinely decreed compensation for
Lavan's ill treatment of him. As Rashi explains, an angel had brought colored
sheep from Lavan's flock to Yaakov's so that this would occur. As justification
for such Divine intervention, Yaakov was told in his dream, "... for I have
seen all that Lavan is doing to you" (Bereishis 31:12). And as Yaakov later
told Lavan directly, "I served you fourteen years for your two daughters and
six years for your flocks, and you changed my wages a hundred times" (ibid. v. 41).