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Would speaking Lashon-Harah (slander) for the sole purpose of "venting" be considered L'Toelet for a positive Benefit- and thus be permitted (as per the necessary conditions)?

If not, why not?

  • Is he saying it to someone? What benefit does that person get? Or are you referring to a prohibition on speaking itself? – Double AA May 31 '18 at 20:11
  • @DoubleAA 1-[I'm not sure there is ever a prohibition to speak LH without anyone listening]. 2- Usually one needs an audience for the benefit of the vent. – RibbisRabbiAndMore May 31 '18 at 20:16
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    The chofetz Chaim says that if a person is upset you can listen to their loshon hara if it'll help calm them down, as long as you don't believe it. I don't remember what he says about the speaker. – robev May 31 '18 at 20:17
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    I think "slander" is not the translation you're looking for (which is instead motzi shem ra, and should not typically be a form of venting). – Loewian Jun 1 '18 at 4:36
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    I think the term 'venting' needs to be more clearly defined. Why is this person venting? Is he just bored and wants to talk about something, and this happens to be interesting? Is he so emotionally riled up about an issue that he is experiencing psycological anguish by keeping it to himself? Those are sort of the extremes and the Halachah would be different for both, so I think it is necessary to clarify what the extent of the 'venting' is. – Salmononius2 Jun 1 '18 at 13:15
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As mentioned in this other Mi Yodeya answer here:

The Chafetz Chaim in Hilchos Lashon Hara (Klal 6, Sif 4) does give an allowance to listen to someone vent about their day, but only so that they can get it off their chest and won't go telling more people. He also says that the one listening has to be careful not to actually believe it.

From his words "in order that the speaker won't go telling more people", we see that speaking in order to vent is not an allowance in and of itself. If it were, there would be no harm in that person saying it.

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Sefer Chofetz Chaim, Hilchos Lashon Hara 10:1-2, brings examples of when one is allowed to speak Lashon hara about someone for a constructive reason. One of the conditions mentioned is as follows:

His sole purpose in relating what happened must be to correct the wrong, not out of hatred or any other personal reason. (Source)

Therefore, being that speaking Lashon-harah for the sole purpose of venting would not correct the wrong of the person discussed, it is prohibited.

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    Who says venting doesnt help? This quote is out of context. – LN6595 May 31 '18 at 21:06
  • Edited to fix that – aBochur Jun 1 '18 at 0:45
  • You’re trying to be medame milsa lmisa. Learn Shut and Poskim first. – LN6595 Jun 1 '18 at 2:06
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    @LN6595 His sole purpose in relating what happened must be to correct the wrong, not out of hatred or any other personal reason one is allowed to speak lashan hara as long as it's going to help stop the person from doing bad things. Speaking just to vent, and not help the wrongdoing is not allowed. I'm not sure what's not understood here – aBochur Jun 1 '18 at 2:26
  • Learn the rest of the Sefer. The Chofetz Chaim clearly permits Lashon Hara to help the victim. Inasmuch as venting will help the victim - and it may or may not - it would fall under the “Toelet” exception. – LN6595 Jun 3 '18 at 16:30
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The Sefer Chafetz chaim Hilchos Lashon Hara, FOOTNOTE at END OF 10:14 says:

ואפשר *דהוא הדין אם כונתו בספורו להפג את דאגתו מלבו, הוי כמכוון לתועלת על להבא, ... אך שיזהר, שלא יחסרו שאר הפרטים שבסעיף זה. - It may be that if one's intention (in speaking Lashon Hara) is for the purpose of relieving the concern in his heart, it is considered for a future toeles... but he must be careful not to be missing any of the other details (conditions)...

We can compare venting, where one feels a need to relieve himself of anger and tension, to the Chafetz chaim's "relieving the concern in his heart", and consider it L'toeles.

BUT -The Masgiach Rav Yitzchak Yerucham Bordiansky quoted in the name of his father in law Rav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach ZTL that since the Chafetz Chaim says ואפשר "maybe" it is considered a safek, and since lashon hora is a Torah prohibition the rule of safek D'oraysa Lechumrah applies here, and one must be stringent and not rely on this heter.

  • Note that there are other explanations as to how to explain the word 'Efshar'. I have heard quoted in the name of R' Nissim Karelitz (in this shiur) that when the Chafetz Chaim uses the word 'Efshar', he means that he holds that it is the Halachah, but it's his own Chiddush (i.e. no other explicit source for it), so out of humility, he used the word 'Efshar'. – Salmononius2 Jun 14 '18 at 15:31
  • @Salmononius2 And I heard that when one gadol paskens one way and another paskens another way, so (unless one always follows one of them), it remains a safek. so we are back to safek D'Oraysa Lechumrah. – RibbisRabbiAndMore Jun 14 '18 at 22:41
  • I'm not here to Pasken anything one way or the other, just wanted to bring forward the idea that some authorities define the 'Efshar' differently. Although I'm not entirely sure how the idea of conflicting Psakim would work, there is almost always a Machlokes in any case. And even if that rule would apply, if anything, it would make this case a Sfek Sfeka. – Salmononius2 Jun 17 '18 at 3:50

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