Minor Corrections
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

March 18, 2018, Israel

We live in an era where commenting on another persons' behavior can have deadly consequence; suicide or homicide. Either the person will be so offended that he might commit suicide, as he was offended, or he might be so upset that he will pull out a knife and kill you. 

When I see social wrongs I make a comment and then I am swiftly criticized by those around me. 

You parked in a way that takes up two spaces and now the next person, perhaps in a big hurry, will be frustrated because they cannot find a spot. Your own thoughtlessness is to blame. 

You are smoking a nasty smelly cigarette in a public place (yes, it is legal) and now the person near you has a bad cough as they deeply inhaled your second had smoke, (happened to me many times, still suffering from this). 

You were careless in taking care of a customer's order and now after waiting weeks for the product they have an outfit that does not fit. 

And the list can go on to fill volumes. 

My approach is that in order to improve the system we should point out these matters. Call it Quality Control, parenting, helping improve the system. This is what parents should be doing; that is what parenting is all about. I recall my brother telling a story that had a profound impact on him: He was in England and a little girl dropped her ice cream on her seat. As she was getting ready to leave her mother said, Dear, if you leave it like that some other child will sit here and her trousers will get dirty and sticky. We mustn't allow that.

This child was learning how to behave in a civilized society. Don't leave a mess for others. Some other child will sit on that seat and discover that her pants are now all dirty and sticky, that is not nice.

But if someone were to make this comment, God help them!

When I am teaching I will correct you. I will notice those little mistakes and point them out to you. This is for your benefit, and for the benefit of all whom you will teach someday. This is how we improve. Of course the correcting should be done in a manner that respects the student.

הוֹכֵ֤חַ תּוֹכִ֙יחַ֙ אֶת־עֲמִיתֶ֔ךָ וְלֹא־תִשָּׂ֥א עָלָ֖יו חֵֽטְא

You shall surely rebuke your colleague but do not cause him to transgress (Leviticus Chapter 19)  This is interpreted in two ways; If you do not rebuke him you share in his guilt for his incorrect actions. But if you rebuke him too harsh and shame him you will cause him to transgress even further. Thus tact should be used as much as possible. 

A fool will be angry with you for correcting him and will gain nothing from the experience. As the Torah says, אַל־תּ֣וֹכַח לֵ֭ץ פֶּן־יִשְׂנָאֶ֑ךָּ

Do not rebuke the fool lest he come to hate you. (Proverbs, Chapter 9). The verse continues however, הוֹכַ֥ח לְ֝חָכָ֗ם וְיֶאֱהָבֶֽךָּ

Rebuke the wise one and he will love you.

Every Sabbath I pray at a synagogue that is a little unusual. It is a Yemenite Synagogue where all the congregants are descended from the Jews of Yemen. What makes them unique among Jews is that they alone have preserved the original Hebrew pronunciation. (very close to Arabic and Aramaic) and the original way of reading the Torah. As such they are very strict. 

When one read the Torah/Bible in public there are experts who follow his every word. The slightest mispronunciation is corrected. It may be such a minor nuance that almost no one outside the congregation would even notice, but it is corrected nonetheless. 

In this manner the original Hebrew is preserved and passed on to the next generation, as it has been for the past thousands of years. 

Some may view this has harsh. But someone might be offended! This may hurt their feelings!

No, this is of no concern. Training usually begins at the age of 4 or 5 years old, even before children learn to read and write in school. The old "Mori" trains the young children to accept this gentle rebuke and these corrections so that as they grow up it becomes the norm. This is the way and this has been the way for thousands of years. 

Minor mistakes eventually become major problems, as we can see in society today where people have become super sensitive and incorrigible. When mistakes are allowed to continue eventually we have a society out of control and we wonder why we live in "Bad Neighborhoods" and why others live in "Good and safe Neighborhoods". 

It is in our hands, we can make the difference, but we must not be afraid. 

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