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If someone says something to offend you, can you just reply with a “Shutup!”, or will this be considered as hurting one’s feelings? This is a serious question. If it is a sin how else can you let someone know that their remarks are not appreciated in a way that they will stop?

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  • Why do you think it might be? If it hurts someone else’s feelings, it’s a problem, and if not, not. What’s the question?
    – DonielF
    Aug 10, 2018 at 3:11
  • @DonielF "If it hurts someone else’s feelings, it’s a problem, and if not, not." Source...? Reason...? Aug 10, 2018 at 3:19
  • Is ואהבת לרעך כמוך good enough? Or do you prefer Hillel’s line in Shabbos 31 of “that which you hate don’t do to your friend”? Or maybe אונאת דברים? The list can go on and on. @רבותמחשבות
    – DonielF
    Aug 10, 2018 at 3:20
  • @DonielF How does that answer my question to you? What if it hurts some people but doesn't hurt others? What if it falls under the problem(s) of Nivul Peh? Aug 10, 2018 at 3:21
  • @DonielF (I was asking on the "if not, not" part.) Aug 10, 2018 at 3:21

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While sheket means quiet, religious texts more often use the word shtika to refer to silence. The famous Rabbi Akiva is noted for saying, “a safety fence for wisdom is silence” (Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers 3:13). Elsewhere in the Talmud it is written, “the best medicine of all is silence. When Rabbi Dimi came, he said: ‘In the west they say a word is worth a sela, silence two selas” (Talmud Megillah 18a).

By extolling the merits of silence, the sages were not trying to hush a gathering of noisy, rambunctious youth. Rather they were discussing a character trait. Jews may joke, Jews may debate, and Jews may even argue, but Judaism places tremendous importance on peace. Knowing when to refrain from speaking is often the best way to maintain peace. Whether this means refraining from gossip, holding back a sharp retort or not trying to prove that one person knows better than another, shtika is the silence of self-discipline. That is why the recommended remedy to employ when one finds oneself about to say something one shouldn’t, is to tell oneself Sheket...Bevakasha.

(nice text from http://www.jewishtreats.org/2016/09/sheketbevakasha.html )


Well, if you THINK you CAN hurt a person by saying 'shut up', so of course you cannot say to this person 'shut up', because of the probability to hurt someone's feeling (even worse if more people seeing).

A more lenient way of think is to think 'this person won't be hurted' (if a friend or something else), but we have to remember that there are people watching us and it is not a polite way to talk with a fellow person, can you see a great rabbi like Shalom Arush or Rav Kaduri (blessed his memory) saying 'shut up' to someone?!

Even if this person is saying something you strong disagree, you have more polite ways to talk, or even better, say to yourself: 'Sheket...Bevakasha'.

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  • There are occasions where one may tell another to "shut up" (or whatever terms he wishes to use) even in harsh terms and even if it may hurt another's feelings. Notably, I believe Mishnah Berurah says that one may do this to silence someone who is talking during tefillah. Another case, I believe, is when someone is speaking lashon hara.
    – DanF
    Aug 10, 2018 at 14:24
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I would say it depends on who started.. Just to say shut up' to someone is hurtful and is prohibited (אונאת דברים), but if he told you first something not nice it would be permitted to answer him back, and the source to this is in the Sefer Hachinuch Mitzva 338... (from sefaria)

ואולם לפי הדומה, אין במשמע שאם בא ישראל אחד והתחיל והרשיע לצער חבירו בדבריו הרעים שלא יענהו השומע, שאי אפשר להיות האדם כאבן שאין לה הופכים, ועוד, שיהיה בשתיקתו כמודה על החרופין. ובאמת, לא תצוה התורה להיות האדם כאבן, שותק למחרפיו כמו למברכיו, אבל תצוה אותנו שנתרחק מן המדה הזאת ושלא נתחיל להתקוטט ולחרף בני אדם, ובכן ינצל כל אדם מכל זה, כי מי שאינו בעל קטטה לא יחרפוהו בני אדם, זולתי השוטים הגמורים, ואין לתת לב על השוטים. ואם אולי יכריחנו מחרף מבני אדם להשיב על דבריו ראוי לחכם שישיב לו דרך סלסול ונעימות ולא יכעס הרבה כי כעס בחיק כסילים ינוח (קהלת ז ט). וינצל עצמו אל השומעים מחרופיו וישליך המשא על המחרף, זהו דרך הטובים שבבני אדם. ויש לנו ללמד דבר זה שמתר לנו לענות כסיל לפי הדומה מאשר התירה התורה הבא במחתרת להקדים ולהרגו (שמות כב א), שאין ספק שלא נתחיב האדם לסבל הנזקים מיד חבירו, כי יש לו רשות להנצל מידו וכמו כן מדברי פיהו אשר מלא מרמות ותוך, בכל דבר שהוא יכול להנצל ממנו. ואולם יש כת מבני אדם שעולה חסידותם כל כך שלא ירצו להכניס עצמם בהוראה זו להשיב חורפיהם דבר, פן יגבר עליהם הכעס ויתפשטו בענין זה יותר מדאי, ועליהם אמרו זכרונם לברכה (שבת פח, ב) הנעלבין ואינם עולבים, שומעין חרפתם ואינם משיבין עליהם הכתוב אומר (שופטים ה לא) ואוהביו כצאת השמש בגבורתו.

However according to what it seems, it is not understood that if an Israelite came and began to be wicked to pain his fellow with his bad words, that the listener should not answer him. For it is not possible for a man to be 'like a stone that cannot be overturned' - moreover, that he will be in his silence like one who concedes to the insults. And in truth, the Torah did not command for a man to be like a stone, silent to those who insult him and to those who bless him alike. Rather it commands us to distance ourselves from this trait and that we should not begin to quarrel and insult people. And like this, every man will be saved from all this - since one who doesn't quarrel will not be insulted by people, except for [by] complete fools; and we should not pay attention to fools. And if perhaps some insulting person will force him to answer his words, it is fitting for a wise person to reply to him in a roundabout and pleasant way, and not become very angry; as 'anger rests on the bosom of fools.' And he will [so] save himself before those who listen to his insults, and he will cast the burden upon the one who insults [him]; and this is the way of the best among men. And we should learn this thing - that it is permitted to us to reply to a fool - according to what it seems from how the Torah permitted one who comes to rob secretly to be preceded and killed (Exodus 22:1). As there is no doubt that a man is not obligated to bear harm from his fellow; as he has permission to save himself from his hand - and similarly from the words of his mouth that are full of deceit and cunning - with anything that he is able to save himself from him. However there is a group of people the righteousness of which rises so much that they do not want to include themselves in this teaching - to reply something to those that insult them, lest anger will overpower them and they become involved in the matter more than is necessary. And about them they, may their memory be blessed, said (Shabbat 88b), "Those who are humiliated but do not humiliate [back], who hear their insult and do not reply - about them the verse states (Judges 5:31), 'but those who love Him are like the sun coming out in its strength.'"

A great source in the Talmud for this (I've seen in a sefer from R' Yaakov Chaim Sofer), is a Gemara Beitza 20b

אָמַר אַבָּיֵי: הִלְכָּךְ, הַאי צוּרְבָּא מֵרַבָּנַן דְּאָמַר לֵיהּ חַבְרֵיהּ מִלְּתָא, לָא לַהְדַּר לֵיהּ מִלְּתָא טְפֵי מִמַּאי דַּאֲמַר לֵיהּ חַבְרֵיהּ, דְּאִיהוּ אָמַר לֵיהּ: ״מָה זוֹ סְמִיכָה״, וְקָא מַהְדַּר לֵיהּ: ״מָה זוֹ שְׁתִיקָה״.

Abaye said: Therefore, it is clear from here that a Torah scholar whose colleague says something reprimanding or insulting to him should not answer back with something more than his colleague had said to him, to avoid adding fuel to the fire, as in the above story the one said to the other: What is this placing of hands? and the latter responded to the former using the same language: What is this silence?

What emerges is that one may only answer as rude and harsh as his friend initiated but not more then that... To that point I will add the Gemara Kesubos 45b

אֲמַר לֵיהּ: רַחֲמָנָא נַיצְּלַן מֵהַאי דַּעְתָּא: אַדְּרַבָּה, רַחֲמָנָא נַיצְּלַן מִדַּעְתָּא דִּידָךְ

Rabbi Ile’a said to him: May the Merciful One save us from following this opinion, as your argument is illogical. Rabbi Ḥanina replied: On the contrary, may the Merciful One save us from your opinion, as yours is the baseless opinion

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    Nice makor @shayachagigah! About the last part in the Sefer Hachinuch about the righteous Jews who don't reply to other who insulted them, the Gemera in Chullin 89a says,"אמר רבי אילעא אין העולם מתקיים אלא בשביל מי שבולם את עצמו בשעת מריבה שנאמר תולה ארץ על בלימה רבי אבהו אמר מי שמשים עצמו כמי שאינו שנאמר (דברים לג, כז) ומתחת זרועות עולם, that if someone is in a quarrel (kind of like someone insulting someone else) and is quite, the world is מתקיים because of him! Mar 31, 2023 at 16:29
  • @AvishaiTebeka great source, thanks! Mar 31, 2023 at 16:32
  • @AvishaiTebeka I figured that why Abaye in the forementioned Gemara Beitza spoke about the צורבא מרבנן, based on the Gemara Taanis 4a וְאָמַר רָבָא: הַאי צוּרְבָּא מֵרַבָּנַן דְּרָתַח — אוֹרָיְיתָא הוּא דְקָא מַרְתְּחָא לֵיהּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״הֲלוֹא כֹה דְבָרִי כָּאֵשׁ נְאֻם ה׳״ Mar 31, 2023 at 16:35
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  1. The rule is עביד איניש דינא לנפשי (B"K 27b) - we can see that is allowed to prevent one's damages. Also, Rambam posek so in Hil. Sanhedrin Ch.2 12:

"יש לאדם לעשות דין לעצמו אם יש בידו כח, הואיל וכדת וכהלכה הוא עושה - אינו חייב לטרוח ולבוא לבית דין, אף על פי שלא היה שם הפסד בנכסיו אילו נתאחר ובא לבית דין, לפיכך אם קבל עליו בעל דינו והביאו לבית דין ודרשו ומצאו שעשה כהלכה ודין אמת דן לעצמו – אין סותרין את דינו"

Therefore one is allowed to take measures to prevent mental or psychological damage to himself without turning to a Bait Din.

  1. The measure of this rule is (as many others of this kind) "הכל לפי המבייש והמתבייש" (Mishna B"K 8.1) it can not be pre-defined:

"בשת הכל לפי המבייש והמתבייש."

Shame? All depends on the one who shames and the one who is shamed.

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