A CLOSE READING OF LEV 19
There is only one way to avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing and be nothing- Aristotle
Matthew 7:1-5 New International Version (NIV)
7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Luke 6:37-42 New International Version (NIV)
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Rabbi Dovid Castle [To Live among Friends] notes (page 790) If a teacher was caught child molesting, you should not give him the benefit of the doubt and decide that he probably will not do it anymore. That would be at the expense of others. Similarly if someone has a history of violent behavior or mental illness, when it comes to shidduchim, you may not hide such information and give him the benefit of the doubt about his future behavior. If someone is suspected of swindling people you should not give him the benefit of the doubt and suggest to someone else to go into business with him. We should not over-emphasize our obligation not to speak lashon hara in situations where we are obliged to speak.
ר' יהודה ליב, המוכיח מפולנאה
המוכיח צריך קודם כל לבדוק את עצמו
אם אין לו טינא שבלב, רוגז, או הקפדה
כלפי האיש שהוא עומד להוכיחו. רק
אם ברי לך שאינך שונא את אחיך
בלבבך, רשאי אתה להוכיחו.
Rabbi Yehudah Lieb, the “Rebuker of Polonia,” Hasidic commentary on Leviticus 19:17
One who wishes to rebuke must first of all check whether s/he has some hidden complaint, anger or compulsion regarding the one whom s/he is about to rebuke. Only after it is clear to you that you do not hate your brother in your heart are you permitted to rebuke.
רבי יוסי בר חנינא דאמר כל אהבה שאין עמה תוכחה אינה אהבה, אמר ריש לקיש תוכחה מביאה לידי שלום
Bereshit Rabbah 54:3
Rabbi Yosi ben Chanina said: “A love without reproof is no love.” Resh Lakish said: “Reproof leads to peace; a peace where there has been no reproof is no peace.”