Recently, someone in my shul was angry at me because of something that I did not do properly for him. At the beginning of davening, he yelled at me about the problem, and embarrassed me in front of others in the shul. I told him, calmly and politely, that I would not answer his request if he spoke to me in a hostile tone. He wasn't happy with my calm answer / explanation. He also, walked out of shul before I had any chance to apologize or explain my side of the story.

I would like to apologize to him for the mistake and any harm I may have, inadvertently, caused him. But, at the same time, I would like to point out to him that I was very hurt by his hostile and demeaning tone and his embarrassing me in public. I.e. - I felt that he should also apologize to me.

I recall that Rashi's explanation on Vayikra 19:18 seems to imply that if one reminds someone of the "crime" this is considered "bearing a grudge".

Is this a case of bearing a grudge, if I remind the person of what he did yo me while I apologize for what I did to him? Or are there, possibly other halachic problems or is it considered, for some other reason, inappropriate to perform rebuke and apologizing at the same time?

  • It's situations like these where I wish the Chofetz Chayim wrote a series about tochacha. Just an uneducated guess, but I would assume apologizing falls into the halacha of tochacha itself (being gentile and sincere). You have two choices on the matter. You can forgive him, issue tochacha (voice your complaint as you said), but you cannot bear a grudge. I do not understand how apologizing while voicing a complaint is a form of grudge holding though. If this is a problem, then maybe it wouldn't be a problem to first say you're sorry and THEN do your tochacha.
    – rosenjcb
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 3:57
  • 1
    Most probably he's just going to get angrier at you if you justify yourself, so it might be worth it to apologize unconditionally. If you feel that the guy would accept your rebuke, and learn from his mistakes, then maybe you should, but if he's the type of guy who screams at people in shul, he'd probably take the rebuke badly.
    – user613
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 5:48
  • The link you gave actually says "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. " - I see nothing there that says you can't remind him of something wrong that he did. Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


"You should not hate your brother in your heart; your shall surely rebuke your friend, and not bear for him a sin." Vayikra 19:17

Ibn Ezra feels that this mitzva is focused on the one giving rebuke. Since we are commanded not to hate our brothers in our hearts (i.e. privately and without his knowledge), we thus are instructed to be candid and let others know when we feel that they have done wrong. Failure to do so, notes Ibn Ezra, leads to the last part of the verse, that the feelings against this individual will fester and eventually you will come to suspect them in general and thus you will sin as a result of them by suspecting them falsely of further sin. One should not be timid in speaking openly to his fellow Jew, as the results will only be detrimental to all parties involved. Ramban takes a similar view, noting that people whose nature it is to hate other people make a habit of not rebuking them. They would rather display deceitful friendship than work on creating a true bond of fraternity between themselves and the person that they despise. This, Ramban says, is what these verses speak against.


i.e. try to work things out otherwise it may lead you to hatred towards this person and that is certainly against halacha

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