Salty ConversationThe Chofetz Chayim and another Rav were eating in an inn renowned for its standards of kashrus. The innkeeper, realizing that he had two illustrious guests, did all he could to serve them the finest meal. As the dessert was being brought out, the innkeeper asked them, "How did you like the meal?" The Chofetz Chaim complimented the innkeeper and his cook, and thanked them warmly. The other Rav however mentioned that the soup could have used a little more salt. The Chofetz Chaim turned white. "My whole life I have managed to avoid hearing Loshon Hara (bad speech) and here you have just spoken Loshon Hara."
"What are you talking about?", asked his companion skeptically.
The Chofetz Chaim described the scene that must be going on in the kitchen right now. "The cook is probably a poor widow and the innkeeper is chastising her for not putting salt in the soup and thereby ruining the meal of his illustrious guests. He would be screaming at her and ready to fire her over the incident. Besides, you have also violated six injunctions:
1) You spoke Loshon Hara.
2) You caused others to hear it.
3) You caused the owner to repeat it (rechilus).
4) You caused the cook to lie, saying that she did put salt in the soup in order to save face. 5) The owner caused pain to a widow.
6) You caused an argument."
The other Rabbi smiled. "Surely you are exaggerating."
"Let's go see", said the Chofetz Chaim.
They went together into the kitchen to find the innkeeper berating the poor cook for her stupid mistake. The second Rav, realizing his blunder, begged the innkeeper to keep on the cook assuring him that the soup was quite good, and the rest of the meal extraordinary, and promised that he would always stop to eat at this inn on all his journeys.