Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Shoftim: Lessons in Behaviour


by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto Shlita

Caution with what goes in and out

I once arrived late to a wedding; the host graciously asked a waiter to bring me the fish course that had already been served to the other guests. 

While waiting for it to arrive, I wanted to use the time to drink a l'chaim with the chatan. I was seated at the head table with several other Rabbanim, and the Rav sitting next to me pointed out that the wine I had chosen did not have a standard hechsher. Since the Rav who gave the hechsher was seated at our table, I immediately realized that if I did not drink his wine, I would be causing him great embarrassment. I decided it was okay to rely on his hechsher since I knew him as a G-d fearing Jew. I poured a cup of wine, recited the appropriate blessing and drank the entire cup. 

The Rav who had certified the wine noticed my act and smiled with satisfaction. I understood that I had acted correctly, for until now the guests had glanced at the hechsher and then pushed the wine away, causing him great heartache. 

Several moments later the host approached. Pale-faced, he told me there was reason to suspect the fish was not kosher! Baruch Hashem I had been saved from eating this dish… 

I thought to myself that those Rabbanim who did not consider carefully and realize that their stringency regarding the wine would result in embarrassing someone sitting at their table, were the ones who unwittingly sinned by eating forbidden fish. Conversely I, who was concerned about this and refrained from shaming another Jew, was protected by Hashem not to ingest something impure. For if someone is careful not to transgress, Hashem protects him that he not sin even unintentionally. 

Reassuring One who has been Degraded 

 It is permissible to speak derogatorily about someone who insulted another person, so as to console the one involved. One can lessen his pain by explaining that the one who insulted him is lacking wisdom or manners, or that his words are untrue and people do not take him seriously. 

It is important to assist the one who was slighted to understand the nature of the offender, so he can learn how to deal with him while preventing future occurrences of this sort.

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