This brief chapter in Sefer Chofetz Chaim is a very revealing one. Earlier (Day 93), the Chofetz Chaim presented a situation where one is guilty of rechilus without telling the person any facts which he did not already know. In this chapter, the Chofetz Chaim presents other such situations. He begins with a case involving a din Torah (court case):
Yaakov leaves the beis din (rabbinical court) having lost a din Torah. While he is not pleased with the results, he does accept them and is prepared to abide by the judges’ ruling. But when he meets his friend Shimon and tells him the news, Shimon is enraged, insisting that Yaakov has been wronged and a terrible injustice has been committed by the court. Though nothing has changed regarding the actual beis din proceedings, and Yaakov still has no choice but to abide by the ruling, he is now angry with the judges, convinced that the case was totally mishandled.
Shimon is guilty of rechilus (of particular severity, since he has spoken against Torah scholars).
This same dynamic is sometimes responsible for marital problems. A wife, for example, may not be terribly bothered that her husband did not remember her birthday. But her friend might feel that she is being taken for granted, and provides her with a perspective that will make her angry with her husband. A husband may not care that his wife does not prepare elaborate dinners. But his well-meaning brother might step in and convince him that his spouse is not fulfilling her obligations as a wife.
The Chofetz Chaim offers another case:
Reuven spoke badly of Shimon in the presence of Levi and Yehudah. Levi goes and reports this to Shimon. Yehudah reasons, “There can’t be anything wrong in my telling Shimon that I was there too—he already knows about it from Levi!”
Yehudah is wrong, says the Chofetz Chaim. Shimon may have doubted Levi’s report—until Yehudah came along and reinforced it. Even if there was no reason to suspect that Shimon doubted Levi’s report, nevertheless, Yehudah’s words add credibility to Levi’s report and strengthen Shimon’s bad feelings towards Reuven. Furthermore, says the Chofetz Chaim, it may be Yehudah’s repetition of the report which causes Shimon to explode with rage and ignite a full-scale feud.