Monica asked an excellent question about how to correct someone who posts something objectionable on a public forum. I was struck by the suggestion that the usual course of action was "to take the person aside for a private conversation". That's sensible advice and (once you hear it) maybe a bit obvious. But it's also what we Christians are commanded to do.

So I got to wondering: Is this a case of convergent evolution (so to speak) or is this model of reconciliation found in the Tanach? Or would the early Christians have heard it from their rabbis?

  • Note that Jacob seems to have rebuked Reuben, Simeon, and Levi in public (in the presence of the rest of his sons) in Genesis Chapter 49.
    – Alex
    May 15 '18 at 23:29

Very conveniently, the answer lies plainly in one verse. VaYikra (Leviticus) 19:17 states, "Do not hate your brother in your heart; you surely must rebuke your neighbor, but you must not bear sin because of him." (My own translation)

Rashi there states: "but You shall not bear a sin on his account: I.e., [in the course of your rebuking your fellow,] do not embarrass him in public. — [Torath Kohanim 19:43; Arachin 16b]" (translation from here)


Torah says:

You shall surely admonish your fellow, but don't bear a sin because of him.

Which is interpreted as:

Even when it's necessary to admonish someone, do so in such a way that you won't bear the sin of embarrassing him publicly.

  • Is the first quote Leviticus 19:17? Leviticus 19:18 works too, if you think through how you would prefer to be rebuked or admonished. Feb 17 '12 at 2:32
  • 3
    Yes, it's Lev. 19:17.
    – msh210
    Feb 17 '12 at 2:44

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