Installing “Ought” In “Is,” Halevay

The following text by Reb Zalman is from this week’s Torah portion, Shabbos Acharei Mot-Kedoshim. (Click here for Hebrew/English version). [Notes by Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor]:

You shall surely rebuke your fellow, but you shall not bear a sin on his account.” (Leviticus 19:17).

Show hir how they showed you too of your wrong and they rebuked you when you sinned, for you and s/he are together in this regard.

[NOTE:  The starting point for rebuke is compassion and empathy.  My friend’s transgression is, perhaps, something I have done, or like something I have done.]

“… et amitecha,” i.e., im amitecha / together with  your folk.

[NOTE:  Seeing yourself as not greater than is the ground in which the learning may be planted.] 

 (Baba Metziah 59a) “Am She-itcha batorah” / the people that are with you in Torah.

[NOTE:  The discussion in Baba Metzia deals with proper ways of treating one another.  The Talmud reference cited is based on Leviticus 25:17, “and a man shall not wrong his fellow,” עֲמִתוֹ  = עֲם אִתּוֹ  (i.e. “his fellow” is expounded as a contraction meaning “the people that are with you.”) 

Having “stood at Sinai,” we share an intention to be good, to do things appropriately.]

“You shall surely rebuke your fellow.” This way you will give hir energy without depressing hir.  You show hir that the greatest sin that can be is to know that teshuvah is a possibility and s/he didn’t do teshuvah.

[NOTE:  Teshuvah means return or repentance and illustrated by, 1) Feeling remorse / regret, 2) recognizing / acknowledging those feelings, 3) asking for forgiveness of those we have wronged or of God, 4) deciding that if we find ourselves in the same situation again, next time, we will act differently.] 

This is how it is explained to us by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (his memory be blessed),  

[NOTE:  Likutei Moharan, Ed. mahadora batra, siman 112]:

“If you believe that sins can spoil things, you must also believe that through teshuvah they can be fixed.”

So show hir that having made a similar mistake this is what you did to fix it.  This is how you can strengthen him and empower him.  

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
from Yishmiru Daat (2009 revision),
Parashat Kedoshim,” p. 33

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