Do not embarrass others

The Literal Commandment

You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. (Leviticus 19:17)

 

The literal commandment is that we should not incur sin while reproving a neighbor who has sinned.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment:

But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. (Matthew 5:22)

 

We should not embarrass "a brother" (or a sister!) by calling him a "good for nothing" or a "fool". Messiah affirms that such an action is a sin. Sin warrants the judgment of hell.

 

Pictures of Messiah

Embarrassment results from an awareness of some flaw of character or improper action. This commandment (do not embarrass others) pictures Messiah in that He did not come to point out our flaws or sins. He did not come to judge the world but to save the world. (John 12:47)

Accusation is the work of the Law (John 5:45) and conviction is the work of the Spirit (John 16:7-11).

Messiah has already come to redeem us.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

We know that Messiah was without sin (Hebrews 4:15) so we know that He fulfilled this commandment by not sinning.

 

Traditional Observance

Traditional observance of this commandment is understood as "not shaming others". Shame is a cause of great anguish for men and women. Although we are commanded to "reprove your neighbor" and admonish him because of his sin, G-d puts a restriction upon that command so that we do not reprove too harshly or too frequently so as to embarrass the person and "incur sin because of him."

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and should not unnecessarily embarrass others.

We are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. Just as we desire proper correction (Psalm 141:5) but do not desire to be unnecessarily embarrassed, so too we should provide proper rebuke to others without unnecessary embarrassment.

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 17
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 1
  • Mishneh Torah Book Knowledge
  • Mishneh Torah Category 2- Personal Development
  • Reference Leviticus 19:17
  • Scripture Book Leviticus
  • Chapter 19
  • Verse 17
  • English You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him.
  • Hebrew יז לֹא-תִשְׂנָא אֶת-אָחִיךָ, בִּלְבָבֶךָ; הוֹכֵחַ תּוֹכִיחַ אֶת-עֲמִיתֶךָ, וְלֹא-תִשָּׂא עָלָיו חֵטְא.
  • Greek 17 οὐ μισήσεις τὸν ἀδελφόν σου τῇ διανοίᾳ σου, ἐλεγμῷ ἐλέγξεις τὸν πλησίον σου καὶ οὐ λήμψῃ δι᾿ αὐτὸν ἁμαρτίαν.
  • Parashah 30- Kedoshim
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 240
  • Sef. Hach. Command The prohibition against shaming a Jew
  • Category Love
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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