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The extent of Rechilus


Why does the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (30-1) start by giving the case of Doeg relating to Shaul HaMelech that Achimelech gave Dovid bread and a sword? It was true and not a derogatory statement. Doeg didn’t know Shaul would be angry. Why is this rechilus? A more common example, I thought, would be relating that Reuven tells Shimon that Levi called him a liar. Please explain why the Kitzur didn’t give this more obvious example, and why the former is indeed an issue. After all, if Reuven tells me that Levi sends me regards and tells me that Levi misses me, this can’t be rechilus. Because Reuven doesn’t know Levi and I didn’t get along, and I am certain Levi doesn’t miss me, and even though this report that Reuven innocently relates conjures up bad feelings in me about Levi, Reuven should not be guilty of rechilus. Right?


The Kitzur brings this case because he is quoting the Rambam (Daos 7-1), who uses this case. The reason this case is used, is to bring out the point that something can be rechilus even if it is totally true and even if the person’s action was without any malicious intent. Still,  if the person saying it over has malicious intent, and he knows that by saying over this “innocent” story, it will cause ill-will between the listener and the person being spoken about, it is also considered rechilus. Doeg, the person who said the rechilus did know that it would cause ill feelings to Saul about Ahimelech (see Chofetz Chaim- Beer Mayim Chaim Rechilus 1-4). This particular case brings out the point of the extent of Rechilus very well.

Best wishes


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