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Parashat Acharei Mot – Kedoshim – A Guide To Rebuke

...הוֹכֵחַ תּוֹכִיחַ אֶת עֲמִיתֶךָ

You shall surely rebuke your fellow…


The Torah here teaches us that we should be ready to rebuke others when necessary. This can be very uncomfortable, but we are nonetheless here to make the world a better place. Seemingly quite contradictory to this is a passuk in Mishlei “Do not rebuke a “letz” (one who likes to make light of serious situations by deflecting into jokes) lest he hate you, rebuke a chacham and he will love you”.

The Shlah Hakadosh writes that we can learn a great lesson on how to rebuke someone from here. He understands the passuk in Mishlei in a novel way. “Do not rebuke a letz “- Don’t rebuke someone by calling him a letz, telling him he’s a horrible person and all the criticisms of them (even if that is true) because he will hate you, as a letz would. Instead “Rebuke a chacham and he will love you” – Tell him about all the good things he does, and how he’s too good of a person to have such a flaw, and that’s how he will respond. He will appreciate your concern instead of reflecting the percieved hatred back at you.

Aside from the wonderful lesson in psychology, we see highlighted here the Torah’s true goal. The Torah doesn’t want people just going around criticising others. As a matter of fact Chazal say that it’s forbidden to rebuke someone who you know won’t listen. The Torah wants us to be better people and advises us of the best way to make that happen.


Shabbat Shalom

For more Divrei Torah on these Parashiyot click Acharei Mot or Kedoshim