Ethics

For the week ending 6 November 2010 / 28 Heshvan 5771

Disguising Disdain

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: You are listening to a long speech delivered in a very boring fashion. There is a great temptation to show your disapproval with a bored look or to try falling asleep. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: There is a famous takeoff on the Biblical phrase “b'appom hargu ish” (in their anger they slew a man) used by Yaakov in describing the slaughter of the wicked Shechemites by his sons Shimon and Levi. The word b'appom which here means anger also translates "with their nose". Sometimes the twist of a nose silently expressing disdain can be as murderous as evil speech or a dagger.

Every effort must therefore be made to disguise your criticism even if it is shared by others. Who knows if you may not need the same kind of consideration in other circumstances.

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