Not accepting Rechilut: judging favorably
In addition to not believing the information, there is an
additional component of the prohibition against accepting Rechilut:
judging favorably. Even if the listener verifies that the Rechilut
told to him is true (e.g. that the subject said or did something
against him), there is a commandment to judge favorably (Lev 19:15
"B'tzedek tishpot amitecha" - in righteousness shall you judge your
The requirement to "dan l'kaf z'chut," judge favorably, means that
the listener should believe that the intention of the subject who
wronged him was not to provoke him, but something else. This other
(unknown) intention would have been justifiable in the listener's
opinion, despite the secondary effect of seeming to act against the
listener. [Ideally, the listener should think of a reason or two
which could explain what happened. Minimally, he should believe
that something else was going on that he doesn't realize.]
By not following the commandment to "dan l'kaf z'chut," a listener
violates the prohibition against accepting Rechilut. He also may
cause himself more difficulties by acting upon this Rechilut, such
as speaking against the person that wronged him, further violating
commandments and severing social, business, or other ties that
normally benefit him.
Repenting from accepting Rechilut
If one already accepted Rechilut, yet has not repeated the
information to anyone else, his spiritual recourse is as follows:
- He must remove his belief in the information from his heart.
If it is difficult to believe that the speaker of the Rechilut
made everything up, the listener should realize that perhaps the
speaker exaggerated and added information, or put things in a
- He must commit to not accepting Lashon Hara or Rechilut again.
- He must confess (Viduy - the Hebrew term for private confession
to G-d) this violation to G-d.