This week the trait we focus on is gevurah, literally strength, but also judgment and discipline.
There are times when we have to judge others. When we have to discipline others. When we have to judge or discipline ourselves. But there are good ways and bad ways express this important aspect of our character.
Today the focus is on chesed, love. When we criticize someone, do we do it in a loving way? Is it coming from a place of love and concern, or is it coming out of desire to build ourselves up by tearing someone else down?
The Rambam (Maimonides) teaches that there is a proper way to rebuke someone – gently, and to start by telling them that you are only telling them this for their own good. The Talmud also says that “there is no one in this generation who knows how to give rebuke – or how to accept it!”
Criticizing and disciplining is not easy. But it should be coming from a place of love. Even for a judge sitting on his bench, his decisions should also be motivated by both a love of the society he/she is there to protect, but also out of concern for the guilty party, that he/she should learn to become a better person because of the sentence.
This also applies in the reception direction. Can you take criticism? Can you see that if someone is criticizing you they very well may be trying to help you, even if they are not expressing it in a loving way?
Back to Day Seven Forward to Day Nine