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Bais HaVaad on the Parsha, Parshas Kedoshim

A Cautionary Tale

Excerpted and adapted from a
shiur by HaRav Chaim Weg

May 5,  2022

You shall not go as a talebearer amid your people; you shall not stand by your fellow’s blood. I am Hashem.

Vayikra 19:16

The mefarshim offer two explanations for the juxtaposition of the prohibitions of rechilus (telling a person something that may cause him to have ill will toward another) and lo sa’amod.

According to the Or Hachaim, it teaches us that rechilus may be spoken for to’eles (beneficial purposes). Due to the issur to allow another Jew to be hurt, one must speak rechilus to a person that others wish to harm, in order to enable him to avoid the harm.

Rav Hirsch understands it this way: As the Gemara (Arachin 15b) says, rechilus can be deadly for three people: the who says it, the one to whom it is said, and the one about whom it is said. Thus one who tells rechilus harms people indirectly; lo sa’amod teaches that not only is it forbidden to harm another Jew even indirectly, it is also forbidden to stand by and passively allow him to be harmed.

According to these mefarshim, our pasuk refers to rechilus. Lashon hara (speaking derogatorily about another) is a more severe sin that is derived by kal vachomer from rechilus. But the Ra’avad holds that rechilus is more severe than lashon hara, and the prohibition of lashon hara is derived in another way (see Chafetz Chaim, Be’eir Mayim Chaim 1:4).


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