Ask the rabbi

  • Torah and Jewish Thought
  • Lashon Hara

Loshon Hora


Rabbi Chaim Tabasky

Tammuz 28, 5768
Proper respect before Torah, without respect you have no Torah. If someone does something wrong weather its bad for me or for someone else and this person knows the proper ways to behave but he just doesn’t practice it. I know it says i’m supposed to approach him and tell him that what he is doing is wrong. But what if he keeps on doing it? Do i look past the wrong doing or do i keep pursuing it. The problem is if i look past the wrong doing then i give up on him and he will continue being a sinful Jew and the sin is on me for letting it happen. But if i keep approaching him i am taken a big risk, because i can end up embarrassing him or hurting him physically from frustration, like the story with Kain and Eval. I understand each situation calls for different approach. I am a flawed person myself and i would personally want someone to approach me and tell me if I am doing something wrong according to Torah law. Also if you look at the history of Jewish tragedies innocent people did suffer but was it really because of crazy leaders or was it because Jews where misbehaving and provoking others (Non- Jews). I see it in today’s world when a Jew misbehaves another Non-Jewish person takes that all Jews are like that and builds up hatred. So i think most of the suffering is because of Jewish misbehavior to themselves and to others. If the answer is approach then i will have a full time job because i personally witness a lot of Jews misbehaving that need someone to tell them what there doing is wrong. A lot of people know but don’t practice it and there are does that were just not thought. So what to do look past wrong doing or approach it. I would like an answer that is being sourced from the Torah. I don’t want an answer coming from what some rabbi says and holds. The reason I say this is because Rambam understood it one way and Chofetz Chaim understood it another way. So if that’s the case then i would just like the source from the Torah directly and i will come to my own conclusions with all the information that i have. Please give me sources from were you get your answers.
The Torah says: "Do not hate your brother in your heart, surely rebuke him; do not carry upon him a sin" (Vayikra 1888;17) The Ibn Ezra understands that the sin referred to is the failure to rebuke, while Rashi reads, you may rebuke him but do not embarrass him, for that is a sin. The Talmud (Yebamot 65b) says, Just as it is a Mitzvah to say that which is heard, so to it is a Mitzvah not to say that which will not be heard, as it says (Mishle 9;8) Do not rebuke a scoffer lest he hates you. Sometime a rebuke can cause sin greater than the original one. So the obligation to rebuke is tempered with a warning, that the rebuke can boomerang and cause more harm than good. The only way rebuke can succeed is if is coupled with infinite love. This is very difficult and should not be attempted lightly. Naturally we take offense and feel anger or derision towards those that act in a manner we consider immoral or hurtful. Out of such an attitude, no matter how understandable it is, rebuke will probably fail. It takes a tremendous amount of soull searching and work on one's own character to reach the level where one may take responsibility for others. This task requires guidance. One must have a teacher who understands human motivation and human relations. May we develop the ability to speak out of love and respect, so that the "rebuke" will be seen and understood as an act of kindness and love.
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