Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Rambam on the Events of Galatians 2: Question 14
In Galatians 2, Paul rebuked Peter "in front of everyone" because Peter was being racist: he refused to sit with gentiles because of their race.
Was Paul violating halacha by rebuking a fellow Jew in public and embarrassing him?
Rambam, in Mishneh Torah Hilchot De'ot Chapter Six, says the following:
It is a mitzvah for a person who sees that his fellow Jew has sinned or is following an improper path [to attempt] to correct his behavior and to inform him that he is causing himself a loss by his evil deeds as [Leviticus 19:17] states: "You shall surely admonish your colleague."
From this, [we learn that] it is forbidden for a person to embarrass a [fellow] Jew. How much more so [is it forbidden to embarrass him] in public. Even though a person who embarrasses a colleague is not [liable for] lashes on account of him, it is a great sin. Our Sages said: "A person who embarrasses a colleague in public does not have a share in the world to come."…
When does the above apply? In regard to matters between one man and another. However, in regard to spiritual matters, if [a transgressor] does not repent [after being admonished] in private, he may be put to shame in public and his sin may be publicized. He may be subjected to abuse, scorn, and curses until he repents, as was the practice of all the prophets of Israel."
ON TO THE QUESTION...
Do you agree with Rambam's articulation of the principles of confrontation? When is it a good idea to confront a brother publicly? When is it a bad idea?
Posted by Peter at 12:12 PM