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I think the answer can come from a fundamental appreciation of the genre of the Talmudic derasha. The purpose was homiletic, to exhort the masses and inspire them, rather than to be a valid kal vachomer. Your question indeed comes out of the very text of the gemara in Arachin תניא א"ר אלעזר בן פרטא בוא וראה כמה גדול כח של לשון הרע מנלן ממרגלים ומה המוציא ...


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R. Yitzchak Yosef in Yalkut Yosef Mo'adim 406:17 rules that if one spoke Leshon Hara about his fellow, and the victim is unaware of this, he should not explicitly confess his sin to the victim, but instead should seek forgiveness from him in a general manner. In the footnote, he notes that this ruling follows the opinion of R. S Z Auerbach (who himself ...


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This story of the Chofetz Chaim is dubious at best - not only does the Chofetz Chaim not hint to this halacha in his works, but he implies strongly to the contrary. ודע עוד, דאפלו אם בתוך הגנות שגנה את חברו גנה את עצמו גם כן בזה הגנות גופא, ואפלו הקדים להתרעם על עצמו בזה, אפלו הכי מכלל דילטוריא לא נפקי The Chofetz Chaim writes that talking against ...


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