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The Chofetz Chaim

Rav Yisroel Meir Hakohen of Radin zt"l known as the Chofetz Chaim, was one of the most famous rabbis before the Holocaust. The Chofetz Chaim »

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Hilchos Lashon Hara chapter 4, section 3

This law of judging a person favorably can be divided into specific details. If this person is average, just like a typical Jew, meaning that although he is generally observant he does occasionally slip and sin and one can assume his slip was unintentional or that he thought that it was only a stringency that one could electively take upon himself if he decided. In this case even someone who saw him transgress this law several times is not allowed to disclose his actions, and it his forbidden to hate this person and he is obligated to give him the benefit of the doubt according to some Authorities.

Hilchos Lashon Hara chapter 4, section 4

However, if it is a severe sin, as committing adultery or eating things that are forbidden, and that these sins are common knowledge among all Jews, then disclosure of his actions is conditional.
If he is a typical Jew in all other respects who is generally observant and avoids most sins, and here we saw him violate a mitzvah privately only once, we have to assume that he did Teshuvah and it is forbidden to disclose his sin. However, one must privately, discretely speak to this person about the sin he committed before G-d, in order that he not repeat is action and come to sin again.
If this person is a Torah scholar – it is forbidden to continue to even suspect that he committed a sin, because he most likely did already Teshuvah. As Chazal have taught "if you saw a Talmid Chacham who committed a sin at night, one may not have any suspicions or doubts about him by following day because he most certainly did do Teshuvah."


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