Rechilus comes in many forms. In this segment, the Chofetz Chaim examines a case which is unusual in that the listener is not being told anything which he did not already know. Consider the following:
The Finestones and the Breckers were celebrating the bar mitzvahs of their sons on the same night. They became embroiled in a dispute when both attempted to book the same catering hall. Three years later, the feud is all but forgotten. Mr. Sanders, who does not get along with the Breckers, would like to reignite the feud. So he casually remarks to Mr. Finestone, “There are so many simchas (happy occasions) being celebrated these days, I’ll bet it happens that friends try to book the same hall.” “Yes,” replies Mr. Finestone, “as a matter of fact, it happened to us a few years ago …” Mr. Sanders is guilty of speaking rechilus.
The Chofetz Chaim adds that, as with loshon hora, it is forbidden to communicate rechilus in writing.
It is also forbidden to inform a businessman that someone has spoken badly of his merchandise. Such comments are considered rechilus because obviously the businessman may feel ill will towards the person. This applies not only to merchandise, but to anyone’s personal possessions.
For example: imagine that you bought a dented, noisy old car. Your neighbor meets you and says, “Shimon saw that car of yours. He says you must have picked it up in the junkyard!” Though you know it’s dented and noisy, nevertheless, hearing such a comment about something you own stirs bad feelings inside you toward Shimon. To report such a comment is to speak rechilus.