This week: a question for your table and an anti-question.
The question: What would you do if you realized that you had harmed someone?
(I hope the answers you get will be at the very least "I'd apologize.")
Now for the anti-question (meaning - don't answer it out loud!):
Have you ever embarrassed someone?
How about in public?The rabbis say that embarrassing someone in public is just about the worst thing you could do to someone. (Talmud Baba Metzia 59a).
Worse than murder!
It's so bad we should rather die a painful death than to do it!
It's so bad that if one does it and fails to get the victim's forgiveness, one "loses one's share in the World to Come" (ibid.).
Here's a true story told in the Art of Amazement (p. 174):
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, one of the greatest of twentieth century sages, always attracted a crowd when he went outside his home in New York. Once, a particularly eager student rushed to help the Rav get into his car, and in doing so, slammed the door shut on Rav Moshe’s finger. Yet the Rav did not cry out—indeed, he did not react at all and the other occupants of the car did not realize what had happened until the car had driven several blocks and Rav Moshe opened the door to relieve his finger.
While a doctor treated the wound, an astonished student asked how it could be that Rav Moshe uttered no expression
of pain when the door was closed on his hand. Rav Moshe was reportedly taken aback with the question: “What? And embarrass that young man in public? God forbid!”
Can you name some common situations when this happens?
- Embarrassing a child in front of other children
- Embarrassing a spouse in front of children
- A teacher embarrassing a student in class
- Teasing someone when it ends up embarrassing them
As you know by now, Channuka begins next week. If you'd like to hear one of my two Channuka classes (mp3 download), shoot me an email.
But I'd like to leave you with a pre-Channuka challenge. See if you can go 8 days in a row without embarrassing anyone.
It sounds easy, but it ain't.
Anyone who succeeds, let me know the dates you were embarrassment-free (honor system) and I'll send you a special Channuka present.
(Please share this challenge with any kids in your life so I can send them a special Hannuka present too!)
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Channuka
"The mouth is like a loaded gun. Before one shoots, he can aim the gun harmlessly at a target. However, once he fires the bullet, he loses control, and the bullet will hit anything in its path." - Rabbi Moshe Aharon Stern
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