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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


  1. Definition of avak rechilut
  2. Praise that is avak rechilut
  3. Asking for a favor by mentioning a previous recipient
  4. Repeating a conversation that the subject would not appreciate
  5. 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 him.]

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 cannot fulfill.

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 the subject.

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.

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