If Person A tells something to Person B in confidence, but without explicitly asking him not to repeat it, and Person B repeats it to Person C, can Person C inform Person A about this, so he knows not to trust Person B anymore, or would that be lashon harah?

1 Answer 1


This is the classic case of rechilus - i.e. tailbearing/gossiping.

The Gemoro in Arachin 15b famously notes about such a scenario:

במערבא אמרי לשון תליתאי קטיל תליתאי הורג למספרו ולמקבלו ולאומרו

In the West, Eretz Yisrael, they say: Third speech, (see Rashi who explains this as a reference to rechilus) kills three people. It kills the one who speaks malicious speech, and the one who accepts the malicious speech when he hears it, and the one about whom the malicious speech is said. (William Davidson translation)

Refer to Rambam's Sefer Hamitzvos #301 of the negative commandments:

הזהיר מהיות רכיל. והוא אמרו לא תלך רכיל בעמך, אמרו (ספרא) לא תהא רך בדברים לזה וקשה לזה. דבר אחר שלא תהא כרוכל שטוען דברים והולך, ובכלל לאו זה אזהרה מהוצאת שם רע. (קדושים תהיו, מדע הלכות דעות פ"ז):

He prohibited us from being a talebearer. And that is His saying, "Do not be a talebearer (rakhil) among your people" (Leviticus 19:16). They said (Sifra, Kedoshim, Chapter 4:5), "You shall not be soft (rakh) with words to one and hard to the other. Another explanation: You shall not be like a merchant (rokhel), who bandies words and moves on." And included in this negative commandment is the prohibition of putting out a bad name. (See Parashat Kedoshim; Mishneh Torah, Human Dispositions 7.)

Rambam in Hilchos De'os 7:1 expressly points out that it is indeed a sin:

הַמְרַגֵּל בַּחֲבֵרוֹ עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יט טז) "לֹא תֵלֵךְ רָכִיל בְּעַמֶּיךָ". וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין לוֹקִין עַל דָּבָר זֶה עָוֹן גָּדוֹל הוּא וְגוֹרֵם לַהֲרֹג נְפָשׁוֹת רַבּוֹת מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל. לְכָךְ נִסְמָךְ לוֹ (ויקרא יט טז) "וְלֹא תַעֲמֹד עַל דַּם רֵעֶךָ". צֵא וּלְמַד מָה אֵרַע לְדוֹאֵג הָאֲדֹמִי

A person who collects gossip about a colleague violates a prohibition as [Leviticus 19:16] states: "Do not go around gossiping among your people." Even though this transgression is not punished by lashes, it is a severe sin and can cause the death of many Jews. Therefore, [the warning]: "Do not stand still over your neighbor's blood" is placed next to it in the Torah [ibid.]. See what happened [because of] Doeg, the Edomite.

  • In OP's scenario there could be utility in telling A that B broke his trust.
    – shmosel
    Mar 31 at 8:37
  • The OP didn't specify if it was l'toeles?
    – Dov
    Mar 31 at 8:50
  • @Dov in simpler words I should not believe this and move on rather then try and protect person A
    – Ben
    Apr 2 at 6:03

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