Until this point, we have dealt with what we will call “first-level rechilus,” where Reuven talks negatively about Shimon to Levi, who reports this conversation back to Shimon.
The Chofetz Chaim now discusses “second-level rechilus,” where the subject of the rechilus, in this case Shimon, goes back to Reuven and confronts him concerning the negative remarks he allegedly said. “Levi told me that you said some very nasty things about me!” With this action, Shimon himself has spoken rechilus, for by telling Reuven of Levi’s report to him, Shimon has caused Reuven to be upset with Levi.
The Chofetz Chaim laments the fact that unfortunately this form of rechilus is all too common.
The Chofetz Chaim adds that even if Shimon were not to mention Levi’s name when confronting Reuven with the report, he would be guilty of rechilus if Reuven could deduce on his own that Levi was the culprit.
Furthermore, if Shimon were to report this story not to Reuven but to Reuven’s family, he would be equally guilty. It is natural for people to take offense when they hear that negative remarks have been said about their relatives.
Finally, the Chofetz Chaim informs us that it is even rechilus for Levi to tell Yehudah that Reuven has spoken badly of Shimon. As we know all too well, such reports often find their way to the subject, and ill will is the result. In addition, says the Chofetz Chaim, to inform someone that one Jew has spoken negatively of another is to speak loshon hora.