Can you embarrass someone privately if you feel that not saying something may cause that person public embarrassment, i.e., s/he may be embarrassed by multiple people? The key word here is MAY, but you calculate that there is a high likelihood that public embarrassment would occur but, there's no guarantee.

As an example - You notice that a man has his zipper open and part of his privates are visible. Telling him this will embarrass him, but if you don't tell him, and he walks in the street, the public will embarrass him, most likely. Of course, there is a possibility that the man may close his zipper before going out, or even if others in the public will see what's going on, no one outside may mention anything, in which case no one publicly would embarrass him at all.

  • דעלך סני - לחברך לא תעביד Jun 12, 2014 at 15:42
  • What he said. Also, don't you think that this guy would definitely appreciate it....even if no one outside will say anything, he WILL realize what kind of situation he was in eventually....
    – MTL
    Jun 12, 2014 at 16:32
  • @AvrohomYitzchok - please explain the "Hebraic" (combo of Hebrew & Aramaic) and cite where this rule comes from. Thanks.
    – DanF
    Jun 12, 2014 at 16:39
  • @DanF Looks all aramaic to me
    – Double AA
    Jun 12, 2014 at 16:47
  • 1
    @DanF לָא and לְחֲבְרֵךְ are Aramaic. לֹא and לְחֲבְרְךָ would be Hebrew.
    – Double AA
    Jun 12, 2014 at 18:28

1 Answer 1


Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, in his weekly Navi shiur, told the story of the man who walked to shul, greeting all on his way, only to realize when donning tefillin that a Q-tip was sticking out of his ear.

Anyone who truly cares and fulfills the mitzva of loving your neighbor will tell him politely the potentially embarrassing fact to prevent him gross public humiliation. I know I appreciate it when people tell me that my pants are accidentally in my socks or I have "something" on my "cheek" (euphemism for nose). People who don't tell are concerned about themselves being uncomfortable, not the person who will be even more embarrassed.

Notifying is the sign of a true friend.

  • This is an interesting perspective. So, essentially, this is one's personal judgement, based on what one may think is embrassing if he were in the same situation? I'm not sure I would universally go as far as saying that someone who says nothing is not a true friend. If one wouldn't be embarrassed himself, why would he think someone else would?
    – DanF
    Jun 13, 2014 at 13:57
  • @DanF It obviously depends on the context...if you anticipate your friend will be embarrassed when going in public, you should tell him privately
    – Gadol
    Jun 15, 2014 at 6:18

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