Don’t try to See Him in his moment of disgrace

  1. Rabbeinu Ovadia Mibartenura and Rabbeinu Yona explained the meaning of
    this passage. Do not try see when a person when he is degraded by sin, for
    he is ashamed of himself and does want to be seen. Similarly, when Adam and
    Eve sinned, G-d did not appear to them before they had garments. Only after
    that, did they hear the voice of G-d walking in the Garden etc. (Bereishis
    2:8) From this we learn that it is forbidden to embarrass someone, not only
    with words, but even by looking at him when it might cause him shame. For
    this reason, a person should not look upon a person who is eating.

  2. When a person is being carried out to an ambulance, people tend to gather
    around to watch. This can cause so much embarrassment and distress to the
    sick person that his condition is actually made worse. Nobody has in mind to
    embarrass him, but he’s embarrassed nevertheless, and sometimes the crowd
    of onlookers actually interferes, if only by getting in the way, with the
    efforts of the medical team to provide emergency treatment.

  3. A person who embarrasses another in public has no portion in the world to
    come, even if he is learned and has done many mitzvos. (Avos 3:11) Even
    though the mishnah specifies “in public”, the Shulchan Aruch Harav cites
    the Sefer Hamitzvos Hagadolos that even a person who embarrasses
    another in private has no portion in the world to come. And there are
    Rishonim who that hold that since shaming a person is compared to murder, a
    person should rather give up his life than shame a person. “Which is the
    murder that is not discerned by the eye, but which carries a very great
    punishment: causing a person shame—a sin that is easily done yet extremely
    severe.” (Sefer Chasidim)

  4. Even though a person speaks in a way that causes shame to another person
    is not required to give financial compensation, the sin is very great, and
    the person who does it is foolish, wicked and arrogant (Shulchan Aruch).
    Chazal report that they once asked a person who had died, “You have
    experienced death. Is there something which is more painful? He answered,
    “Shame is the most painful thing there is.” A person would rather die
    than be shamed. (Sefer Chasidim)

  5. The Alshich Hakadosh writes in Parshas Noach on the verse Whoso sheds
    the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of G-d He
    made man
    . Reading the second word for man (adam) as suggesting
    the word for red (adom), he interprets the verse as saying that a
    person who spills another’s blood with red, i.e., by causing him to go
    red, to blush–his blood will be spilled. How could he be subjected to a
    death penalty when he has not actually caused death? “…in the image
    of G-d He made man.
    ” The image of G-d is on the face of a man. When a
    person causes another shame and he blushes, he deserves to die because he
    has violated the image of G-d.” If a person embarrasses another and
    approaches people who have fear of G-d to help him do teshuvah, they should
    say to him, “know that you did a very bad thing, for you have killed a
    human being…So go, my son, and appease him. Persist until he is appeased,
    and be very careful not to cause others shame.”

  6. In light of all this, parents and educators are obligated to teach
    children that the Torah forbids them to stand and watch when it might cause
    shame to a sick person. This should be repeated again and again until they
    no longer have any impulse to do it. And even if, in any case, there is a
    crowd that is watching, every additional person adds to the sick person’s
    shame. This is halachah directly from Chazal and the Shulchan Oruch,
    not midas chassidus.

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