web analytics
October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

I Hate Criticism

The-Shmuz

And it was in the fortieth year, in the twelfth month, on the first day of the month, when Moshe spoke to Bnei Yisrael according to everything Hashem said to them.” – Devarim 1:3

 

When Moshe Rabbeinu was near the end of his life, he gathered Klal Yisrael together to give them rebuke for the sins they committed in the forty years of wandering in the desert.

Rashi is bothered by why he waited. Why didn’t he rebuke them years earlier when the events first took place? Rashi answers that Moshe learned from Yaakov Avinu. Yaakov didn’t admonish his son Reuven until he was close to death. “If you are wondering why I didn’t admonish you all of these years,” Yaakov told Reuven, “it’s because I was afraid that if I did, you would leave me and cling to my brother Eisav.” Therefore, Yaakov waited until he was about to die and only then did he chastise Reuven. Moshe learned from Yaakov, so he too didn’t give rebuke to the Jewish nation until he was about to die.

This Rashi is difficult to understand. Why would Yaakov be afraid that if he criticized Reuven it would cause him to leave and cling to Esav? It is difficult to imagine a relationship of love, mutual respect, and dedication that was greater than the one Yaakov and his oldest son Reuven shared. Aside from the natural sense of attachment of a son to his father, Reuven accepted his father as his teacher, mentor, and spiritual guide. Surely that should have allowed Reuven to know his father’s rebuke was only for his good.

Further, whenever Yaakov spoke to his son, it was with love and sensitivity. If a situation arose where Yaakov felt his son erred, a mature person like Reuven would willingly accept words of guidance and correct his ways. Why should Yaakov have been afraid?

The Damage of Criticism

The answer is based on the effect criticism has upon a person. The Orchas Tzadikim (Shaar 12) explains that when you verbally attack me, it is a given that I will retaliate. It isn’t much different than if you were physically assaulting me. I perceive your words as an attack against the essence of me, and it is almost within the category of self-defense for me to strike back at you. Every fiber of my being screams out to defend myself against the onslaught of your words.

Criticism is but one step below a verbal attack. It isn’t quite as pointed, not quite as aggressive – but not that far off. When you criticize me, I am under attack. The essence of me, who I am, and what I stand for is being assaulted. You may not have intended it that way, but that is what I feel. There is a powerful sense of disapproval and condemnation that comes across, and I feel under attack.

This seems to be why Yaakov was so afraid to criticize Reuven. Despite the fact that Yaakov would only have intended it for his son’s good, and despite the fact that Reuven was looking for direction from his loving father, Yaakov was afraid that rebuking Reuven would force them apart, perhaps even drive Reuven away.

This is a powerful illustration of the damage caused by rebuke. Even in a relationship based on mutual love and respect, criticism undoes the bond and causes a separation. Here we see it with a mature man whose priorities were straight, a man who lived his whole life for growth and recognized his father as the spiritual guide of the generation. Yet words of rebuke could have had the effect of separating and causing even such a man to go off the path.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “I Hate Criticism”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Facebook post from man believed to be Canadian convert to Islam who rammed soldiers with his car in possible terrorist attack, Oct. 20, 2014.
‘Radicalized’ Convert to Islam Attempted to Murder Canadian Soldiers [video]
Latest Judaism Stories
God-and the world

The creation of the world is described twice. Each description serves a unique purpose.

Questions-Answers-logo

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Lessons-in-Emunah-new

To the surprise of our protectzia-invested acquaintances, my family has thrived in our daled amos without that amenity, b’ezras Hashem.

Business-Halacha-logo

Shimon started adjusting the branches on the roof. In doing so, a branch fell off the other side of the car and hit the side-view mirror, cracking it.

I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.

Should we sit in the sukkah on a day that may be the eighth day when we are not commanded to sit in the sukkah at all?

For Appearance’s Sake
‘Shammai Did Not Follow Their Own Ruling’
(Yevamos 13b 14a)

If one hurts another human being, God is hurt; if one brings joy to another, God is more joyous.

I’m grateful to Hashem for everything; Just the same, I’d love a joyous Yom Tov without aggravation.

Bereshit: Life includes hard choices that challenge our decisions, leaving lingering complications.

Rabbi Fohrman:” Great evils are often wrought by those who are blithely unaware of the power they wield.”

The emphasis on choice, freedom and responsibility is a most distinctive features of Jewish thought.

The Torah emphasizes the joy of Sukkot, for after a season of labor, we celebrate our prosperity.

The encounter with the timeless stability of the divine occurs within the Sukkot.

Hashem created all human beings and it should sadden us when Hashem, their Father, does not see nachas from them.

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff

The effort to bring the Pattersons’ remains to Israel took three years and involved obtaining the approval of their grandson Alan, as well as the permission of a U.S. court.

Underneath all of the mess in Syria, Israel prefers Russian-backed Assad over jihadist rebels.

The “Shomrim” security squad tracked own the suspect.

We are told that someone who says that God’s mercy extends to a bird’s nest should be silenced.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/i-hate-criticism/2014/07/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: