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When to rebuke someone


Last Shabbat I was in the park with my daughter when I saw some teenagers walking. One of them was in tzitzit, but no kippah, and was openly playing on his mobile phone. At the time, I said nothing. Oddly, over Shavout I was with her at a different park and encountered an older man in a kippah on his mobile phone on the holiday. Again, I said nothing. Are these situations where one should gently rebuke them for openly violating Shabbat and the Holiday? In the moment, I decided mind my own business, but maybe this was a moment to talk to them from a place of love and concern.




In these situation, don’t say anything to them, because there is a reason why they are doing what they are doing. They know good and well, that Jews are not to be on their phones on Yom Tov, nevertheless they are doing it. It is most probably because of some issue that they have, and the last thing that will help them now would be criticism, gentle or not. Therefore it would not be a good idea to say anything critical to them. What you can do is give them a nice good morning, etc. But anything more than that, would fall under the category of “ksheinm amitzv lomar davar hanishma, kach mitzva shlo lomar davar sheino nisham”, the same way it is a mitzva to say something that will be accepted, it is a mitzva not to say anything when it will not be listened to.

Bet wishes


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  1. I once was walking with my wife on Shabbos and we saw two teens on their phones.
    We walked over and said Good Shabbos and then sat on the bench near them.
    Of course they put away their phones.
    After we left 10 minutes later they called out to us, “Good Shabbos”!
    It was very nice.

  2. I shopped at a Jewish kosher grocery store. The cashier was a young man who always wore a kippa and earrings. I politely asked him if I may make a personal comment to him. He said yes. I said, the sons and daughters of a king do not dress like the commoners. They represent their fathers great status as the ruler of the land and therefore they display respect dressing as prince’s and princess’s as only the children of a king can. I continued, your Father is the Creator of the entire world and King of all kings. When you wear earrings you don’t show the world that you are proud to be the Kings son, nor does it show respect for Him, as you follow the ways of the commoners. Always remember who you are. The next time I shopped there and since then he was no longer wearing earrings.
    With respect I feel if the situation allows, we should rebuke with kindness.

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