In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Why ‘Bible thumpers’ hurt their cause

By Rabbi A. Leib Scheinbaum

Minding your own business is wrong — sometimes

“These are the words which Moses spoke to all of the Israelites.”

                        —   Deut. 1:1

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | During the five weeks preceding his passing, Moses reviewed with the Israelites the errors and sins committed during their forty-year trek in the wilderness. As chronicled, he neither castigated the nation nor admonished them in anger. Rather, he alluded to incidents and places in which they fell short.

Reproving those who engage in wrongful behavior is a religious duty and a moral obligation. We are forbidden from looking away and "minding our own business". When we see someone committing a wrong, we are enjoined to call the errant behavior to attention. But, as Moses did before us, any reprovement must be carried out with love, sensitivity and consideration. An individual's dignity must be upheld. Our goal must be to prevent the individual who is failing, from falling further into the abyss of sin — to encourage his return to a moral way of life.

There are exceptions.

If we know in advance that our reproach will have a negative effect — if it will deflate the individual, catalyzing depression and despair — doing so is counterproductive. The goal is mending, not breaking.

There is another "however": A situation in which rebuke is likely to be scorned.

The conversation between Abraham and the Divine about Sodom is one of the best known in the Bible.

Abraham, upon learning of the G-d's intent to destroy the city began to bargain with Him. In the end, the town wasn't spared because it lacked even a minimal number of righteous folks.

Interesting, is it not, that while the Torah records the conversation Abraham had with G-d, there's no mention of him ever attempting to do the same with the Sodomites.

If Sodom's inhabitants were so openly cruel — indeed, epitomized evil — they should have been rebuked and taken to task. Shouldn't Abraham, as the moral leader of his day, have at least tried to influence their return to an upright life? Did he not shirk his responsibilities?

Of course not, answers the Dubno Maggid (d. 1804). In fact, it was because they were so thoroughly evil that the inhabitants of Sodom received no rebuke.

The Talmud ( Yevamos 65b) rules that just as there is a duty to offer rebuke when it will be accepted, so, too, is it a mitzvah to withhold rebuke when it will not.

To make their point, the Sages cite Proverbs 9:8: "Do not rebuke a scoffer, lest he hate you. Rebuke a wise man and he will love you." Though cited, the second part of the verse (rebuke a wise man) seems to have no bearing on the point the Sages are emphasizing. Yet the Talmud, often mocked for excessive hair-splitting, includes it. Why?

The Maggid explains that by including the second clause of the verse, the Sages are enlightening us with a penetrating insight into human nature — something that anybody in a leadership position must master:

One who insists on rebuking others, despite knowing that he will be ignored, risks being branded a fanatic. He may even wind up losing his credibility altogether, stunting and stifling any later abilility to effect influence over those who have the potential to improve.

In an attempt to emphasize this point, the Sages cite the entire verse, which tells us that if one wants to succeed in rebuking a wise man, he must refrain from rebuking a scoffer, lest he hate him and destroy his validity and effectiveness.

Why Did Abraham not even attempt to sway the people of Sodom? Because he knew human nature well. He understood that he would not succeed; his words would fall on deaf ears. Moreover, they would not only scoff at him but even hate him. And, in the long run, this would preclude his ability to reach others.

In order to inspire and influence the rest of the world, Abraham had to maintain his credibility. He could hardly afford to undermine his facility to influence and teach. By not castigating the people of Sodom, Abraham was preserving his ability to reprove others who would listen more responsively.

This also explains why Noah's reproof of the people of his generation did not succeed. For one hundred and twenty years, he built an ark. He explained to everyone that he was trying to save them from certain death. They laughed; they scoffed; they ridiculed him. His pleas fell on deaf ears. Why? Because they labeled him a fanatic. Once the label was placed, it was readily accepted by all, because no one wants to hear a negative assessment of himself. If they could subvert his efforts by destroying his credibility, they could continue along their merry way, sin after sin, without being hampered by Noah.

The later prophets, who did rebuke, knew their words at least had a chance of taking hold. And while not in every instance did complete improvement come, neither did the societies ever sink as low as Sodom. They continued to exist because, no doubt, there were those who did heed the call to mend their ways.

When it comes to rebuke, it is not what is said, but how it is said, and to whom.

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Rabbi A. Leib Scheinbaum serves as Director of Special Projects at the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland. Founding Director of the Academy's Camp STEP, he has guided the program to become the premier Jewish day camp in the Midwest. As National Director of the Academy's Living Memorial Project, he has overseen the publication of a national Holocaust curriculum on "The World That Was". A graduate of Telshe Yeshiva, he is a dynamic writer whose Peninim Al HaTorah inspires thousands world-wide.


© 2009, Rabbi A. Leib Scheinbaum