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FRUMToronto Articles Parsha Pearls

Devrei Torah relating to the weekly Parsha.

Blog Image: Salant.JPG
The Wisdom of a Gentle Response


When Yoseph revealed himself to his brothers, who sold him into slavery, he could have said, "You call yourselves brothers? You tried to murder me! You should hang your heads in shame."

Yet he exercised amazing restraint and the highest level of decency. Rather than speaking harshly, he spoke to them gently. Even more, he spoke to them with tenderness, love, and warmth. He simply said, "I am Yoseph! Is my father alive?"

Our sages classify Yoseph's words as "rebuke." However, if we examine his words, we do not find any of the typically sharp words, accusations, or innuendoes associated with rebuke. All he said was, "I am Yoseph!" From that fact, his brothers inferred that they had made a great error in mistreating their brother.

We learn from Yoseph the proper way to offer rebuke. First and foremost, words of rebuke may not contain any hurtful, offensive, or unkind words! The Torah strictly forbids all abrasive words, no matter how "mild" or "justified." The giving of rebuke does not give anyone the right to speak with cruelty or abusiveness.

Surely, giving rebuke in compliance with the Torah's parameters requires great sensitivity.   Indeed, our sages tell us that there is no one in our generation who has the compassion and purity to correctly offer rebuke.

May all of our words be as "sweet as honey and as soft as butter."

[Based on the writings of Rebe Dovid Leibowitz]

TODAY: Imbue all of your words with pleasantness, kindness, and care.

Posted 12/25/2009 12:00 AM | Tell a Friend | Parsha Pearls | Comments (1)

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