Day 173

Chofetz Chaim: A Lesson A Day

Day 173: Rechilus: Listening
Relative Reports

23 April



It is forbidden to believe rechilus even if the speaker is someone

very close to the listener and would not want to draw him into a

feud unnecessarily. Even though it is clear that the speaker has

only the good of the listener in mind, his account of the story may

not be accepted as fact. If one finds it difficult to convince

himself that the report is totally false, he must, at the very

least, assume that the speaker's interpretation of the incident is

mistaken and that no ill will was intended by the subject. (As

stated above, if the report was intended to save him from harm, he

must, of course, protect himself on the possibility that it may be



The following segment is a translation from the Chofetz Chaim's writings on the philosophy of proper speech from the Sefer Shmiras Halashon.

Inspire Others

In essence, it is every Jew's desire to fulfill Hashem's will. It is

ignorance of halachah, lack of awareness of the matter's severity, and

a feeling of helplessness as to how to change oneself in this area,

which are the root causes of widespread disregard for shmiras haloshon.

One who will attempt to guide others in this matter will surely find

his words well received, and will bring great merit to his fellow Jews.

Zohar Chadash states (Lech Lecha 25a): "Rav Avahu said: Take note of

the great reward that awaits one who inspires another Jew to repent.

>From where is this derived? From the words, "And Malkitzedek, King of

Shaleim, brought out bread and wine" (Bereishis 14:18). R' Chiya Rabbah

taught: When the soul of a righteous person who inspired others to repent

departs this world, the angel Michael, who brings the souls of the

righteous before their Creator, goes forth to greet him, as it is written:

And Malkitzedek --this refers to Michael, head of the keepers of the Gates

of Tzedek (Righteousness); King of Shaleim -- this refers to the Jerusalem

of Heaven; brought out bread and wine -- he goes forth to welcome the

righteous man, saying: Peace unto you!' " Elsewhere, Zohar Chadash states

(ibid. 62a): "A Heavenly call goes forth each day: Meritorious are those

who toil in Torah, who draw others close to Torah, and who overlook the hurt

caused them.' "