New sefer! Yay! Only seven more weeks (counting this parsha) until Simchas Torah! :D
Anyway, before Moshe Rabeinu died, he rebuked Klal Yisroel for all the sins they had committed during the forty years in the desert.
Rashi wonders why he didn’t rebuke them before, when the sins happened. He answers that Moshe learned from Yaakov Avinu. Yaakov didn’t rebuke his son Reuvain until he was close to his death. Yaakov gives his reason then: He was afraid that if he had rebuked him earlier, Reuvain might have left him and went to Eisav.
As in many of my divrei Torah, this Rashi is difficult to understand. ;) Why should Yaakov think that would happen? Yaakov and Reuvain were very close and respected each other so much! Reuvain must have realized the rebuke was only for the good. What was Yaakov afraid of?
Criticism is just slightly better than verbal attack. It is, in one word, offending. It pulls people apart from each other.
To quote TheShmuz.com, “This is a powerful illustration of the damage caused by rebuke. Even in a relationship based on mutual love and respect, criticism undoes the bond and causes a separation. Here we see it with a mature man whose priorities were straight, a man who lived his whole life for growth and recognized his father as the spiritual guide of the generation. Yet words of rebuke could have had the effect of separating and causing even such a man to go off the path.”
If this is true for our Avos, how true it is for us! Humans are very sensitive; they are deeply affected by rebukes. The three rules of criticism are: 1) Don’t do it, 2) don’t do it, and 3) don’t do it. It hurts, distances people, and it doesn’t work.