My friend “Faigie” composed a beautiful song for her children’s school melaveh malkah and worked with somebody else to turn it into an impressive video, giving the school her time and expertise
At the melaveh malkah, the school principal called up her partner and with lavish thanks gave her a nice gift – not even mentioning Faigie.
Q: Faigie is really hurt, and keeps telling me how disgusted she is with the school and with her partner. Do I have to stop her from venting to me?
A: Since emotional distress may not be shared without limit, try to do what you can to calm Faigie down (like
empathizing with her while not judging her partner) so she stops venting.
You should try to help her to see that the principal meant no harm, and it
must have been a mistake. To really make shalom, you may even want to approach the principal, since most likely it was an oversight and she can apologize to Faigie.
Actual halachic decisions should be made by a rav
or halachic expert on a case-by-case basis.
As with other forms of loshon hora, halachah does not differentiate between rechilus that is stated explicitly or merely implied. A statement in which names are omitted is still rechilus if the listener can deduce the identities of the people involved. Also, it is forbidden to communicate rechilus through body motion, sign language or any other means. Likewise, it is forbidden to make available written or recorded material if awareness of its contents could create ill feelings between individuals.