Constructive Result

Constructive Result

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  • February 2, 2019

In day 145, we learned that one may relate rechilus for a constructive purpose only if his intent is pure and unsullied by personal motivation. Indeed, constructive intent is what distinguishes a concerned, responsible individual from a rachil, a gossipmonger.

However, proper intent alone is not sufficient to make such talk permissible. Unless there is a reasonable chance that the intended purpose will be accomplished, the speaker – though well-meaning – is guilty of gossipmongering.

Occasionally, one finds himself advising friends who are victims of physical or emotional abuse, whether in a family, social or work setting. At times, the victim has yet to grasp the severity of his problem, or does not realize who the responsible party is. Clarifying these matters for the person and advising him how to deal with the other party would appear to be a true act of kindness, a genuine mitzvah.

In many such situations, however, the victim lacks the courage to defend himself, and will do little or nothing to improve his lot. When dealing with such a person, it is forbidden to show him how someone else is causing him agony, as that would be purposeless gossip. Sad as it is, one may not make a person better aware of his own situation if he will not make constructive use of such clarification and advice.

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