Married couples often mistakenly think that passing information from one to the other is not rechilus. They assume that because their lives are so intertwined, each should know what the other knows. This, the Chofetz Chaim cautions us, is wrong: “One should not reveal this (i.e. rechilus) to others, even to members of his own household.”
A classic illustration of the dangers of rechilus between husband and wife is the tragic episode of Korach’s rebellion.
Korach was born to the tribe of Levi, and before leading his rebellion, he was considered a great man. Yet he led a shameful challenge against the leadership of Moshe Rabbeinu (our Teacher) and in the end he, his family and his associates died a terrible death.
Our Sages (Sanhedrin 110a) inform us that it was Korach’s wife who incited him to rebel. She convinced him that Moshe had personal motives in mind (G-d forbid) in appointing his brother Aharon to the Kehunah Gedolah (High Priesthood) and in other decisions as well.
On the other hand, the wife of Ohn ben Peles convinced her husband to leave Korach’s camp, thus saving his life. To these two women our Sages apply the verse, “She who is wise among women builds her house, but the foolish one destroys it with her own hands” (Mishlei 14:1).
The story has been told of a man who discovered that his business partner of many years cheated him out of a sum of money. The man was prepared to “wage war” and break up the partnership. A friend in whom he confided convinced him: “You’ll go home and tell your wife about what he did. She’ll blast his wife while you blast him. Most probably, your partner and his wife will go on the defensive and have some of their good friends join their ranks. Soon, the feud will be the talk of the town.
“Take my advice. Sit down with your partner and, without raising your voice, try to work things out. Offer to call in an impartial mediator, if necessary.”
The man accepted the advice and was able to resolve the matter to his satisfaction. By accepting his friend’s wise advice, much rechilus, sinas chinam (baseless hatred) and strife was avoided.
(The subject of Mheiman K’Bei Trei is discussed in Day 106.)