Lesson 31c Condition #3 Rebuke first

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Lesson #31c

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Condition #3 –
Rebuke first


  1. You mentioned that if you see someone harming another Jew,
    you may publicize it if 7 conditions are met (see appendix below). 
    Condition #3 is that you must first rebuke him.  I have a situation where
    I know that this fellow doesn’t take kindly to rebuke.  Must I still
    rebuke him?
  1. Under such circumstances you would not have to rebuke him. 
    However, since you aren’t rebuking him, you are only permitted to tell
    over what you saw in front of 3 or more people, for the following 2
    1. It will appear that you are speaking behind his back and
      your intentions are only to gossip.
    2. People will suspect that you are lying; otherwise, why
      wouldn’t you reveal the sin in his presence from the start?  As a result,
      there will be no benefit to what you are relating since they won’t give your
      words any credence.

However, if you rebuke him, or relate
it to 3 or more people, you’re obviously not trying to hide anything.  As a
result, people will more likely assume that you’re speaking for the right
reasons (see appendix below).


  1. I’m concerned that if this fellow finds out that I’m
    speaking about him, he will cause me harm.  Must I still go public?
  1. If you are concerned that he will cause you harm, you
    might not be required to reveal it in front of 3 people.  In such a situation,
    one should consult with a competent halachic authority.


This section is
formatted as a conversation between Oded and Menaseh.   Oded is encouraging his
friend Menaseh to be more careful in guarding his tongue from evil speech.  The
thoughts in this section are primarily based on the sefer, Shmiras Haloshon.

Oded:  Chesed stands by a person for generations.

Menaseh:  What does that mean?

Oded:  That means that the chesed you do will be a
merit for all your future generations.  We learned this from a posuk in
Tehilim.  Additionally, chesed is part of our nature.

Menaseh:  How so?

Oded:  Our sages tell us that there are 3 middos which
are an integral part of a Jew’s make-up.  They are the middos of shyness (in a
positive manner), mercy, and doing kindness.  One who refrains from doing
kindness is committing a grave sin.

Menaseh:  I can understand that he is missing out on
a great mitzvah but why is it a sin not to do kindness?

Oded:  The Torah commands us to do kindness with our
fellow Jews.  If a Jew needs a loan and the Shmita year is approaching the
Torah warns us not refrain because of the Shmita.

Menaseh:  Why would one refrain from lending money
because of Shmita?

Oded:  Shmita cancels loans.

Menaseh:  So it’s actually a prohibition to refrain?

Oded:  It’s not only one prohibition but 2 that one
violates when he refrains from lending money before the Shmita year.  If this
is true before the Shmita year, when one can rationalize and say: “I don’t want
to lend my money because there is a good chance that I will lose it”; when
that’s not a concern, certainly it is a sin to refrain.

Menaseh:  But why do you call it a grave sin?

Oded:  The Torah refers to it as “a matter of bliyaal
in his heart”; in other words, a thought that shows that one has removed the
burden of the mitzvos from himself.

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1) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 10
Par. 7

2) Sefer Chofetz Chaim Sec. 1 Chap. 10 Par. 8


Sefer Shmiras Haloshon Section 1 Chasimas HaSefer Chap. 6


7 Conditions

1.      You either saw it yourself or heard about it and subsequently verified
its veracity.

2.      You must not rush to judgment, but rather weigh carefully whether what
he did is indeed halachicly considered a sin.

3.      Before you go public, you must first attempt to gently rebuke him.

4.      You must be careful not to exaggerate the transgression.

5.      You intentions must be for the right reasons and not out of hatred for
the individual or for personal gain.

6.      If you can bring about the same benefit some other way with out
publicizing this fellow’s transgression, then you may not go public.

7.      Publicizing his transgression mustn’t cause him more damage than would
be due to him in Beis Din.

Intentions (condition #5)

1.      To help the one who was harmed. 

2.      To publicize and degrade the bad deed for one of the following reasons:

So others will avoid such deeds.

Perhaps the one who harmed his friend will see that
people are degrading his actions and as a result, repent.

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