web analytics
July 2, 2015 / 15 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


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.

Current Top Story
ISIS in Egypt, according to an image it posted on social media.
Report: Hamas Helped Sinai Terrorists Wage War Against Egypt
Latest Judaism Stories
Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo-NEW

Attempts to interpret the message of Hashem in the absence of divine prophecy ultimately may twist that message in unintended ways that can lead to calamitous events.

Lessons-in-Emunah-new

Suddenly, the pilot’s voice could be heard. He explained that this was a special day for those passengers on board who lived in Israel.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

All agree that Jews ARE different. How? Why? The Bible’s answer is surprising and profound.

What’s the nation of Israel’s purpose in the world? How we can bring God’s blessings into the world?

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

To my dismay, I’ve seen that shidduch candidates with money become ALL desirable traits for marriage

Bil’am’s character is complex and nuanced; neither purely good nor purely evil.

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

Perhaps on a deeper level, the mitzvah of parah adumah at this junction was not just to purify the body, but the spirit as well.

Halacha isn’t random; it’s a mechanism guiding individuals and society to a higher ethical plateau.

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Less clear, however, is whether the concept applies to the area of civil law such as the law of transfer of property.

The greatest of men, Moshe, had to wait for Hashem to sprinkle purifying waters on Bnei Yisrael to mark the conclusion of the period of death.

My Plate, My Food
‘My Loaf Is Forbidden To You’
(Nedarim 34b)

More Articles from Jewish Press Staff
Nicholas Winton with one of the Jewish children he rescued.

Nicholas Winton saved hundreds of Jewish children from the gas chambers but said nothing for nearly 50 years.

Four Israelis hurt Monday night in a driveby terror attack by terrorists near Shvut Rachel.

Perhaps on a deeper level, the mitzvah of parah adumah at this junction was not just to purify the body, but the spirit as well.

A Smartphone app may be able to help prevent Parkinson’s disease patients from falling.

A shooting victim in Wadi Joz traveled for treatment all the way to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.

“The mandated services program is a key funding source that helps non-public schools meet their bottom lines. We welcome this new funding.”

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

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: