Vayetzei 5777 – Criticism With Love

When our Forefather, Yaakov arrived at Charan in order to escape his brother Eisav’s murderous wrath and to seek a wife, he observed the shepherds of the area lounging around with their sheep and cattle.
29:7 Yaakov greeted them and then told them, “It is still the middle of the day! Water the sheep and go pasture!”
Why did the shepherds accept rebuke from Yaakov? Why did they not say,
“You are a stranger, why should we listen to you?”
The Chofetz Chaim explains: Yaakov originally greeted them with the words, “My brothers!” as is recounted in the Passuk. This implied, “I consider you brothers and I am only interested in your welfare.”
From this we learn rebuke must be given with love and only with the goal of helping a “Brother”.

The story is told about a person who had a grocery store in a religious neighborhood in Yerushalayim. He did not close his store when Shabbos began. Many people spoke to him to persuade him to close the store. They yelled at him. They screamed at him. They made marches and protests and called out to him in protest, “SHABBOS!!!”. The store remained open.
Rav Aryeh Levin ztz”l came to the store late in the day of erev Shabbos. He found a place to stand and just stood there. As the time got closer to Shabbos, the store owner said to Rav Aryeh, “Can I help you? What would you like to buy?” Rav Aryeh replied, “I did not come to buy anything; I came to observe and understand why it is so difficult for you to close the store for Shabbos. I see that you have many customers and you feel that it is important that you stay open. I understand how hard it is for you,” he said softly, “Still, Shabbos is SHABBOS!”
The store owner said, “I did not pay attention to any other person who told me to close. They did not try to understand me. But you, Reb Aryeh, came to see and understand me. I will now agree to close the store for Shabbos.”
This is how to rebuke someone. With the intention of inspiring him to improve out of your concern for his welfare!!

By Rabbi Sharaga Thav
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